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Ex-Cub Mark Grace pleads guilty on DUI charges

Grace faced several years in prison had he gone to trial; by pleading guilty, he received a reduced sentence. The photo above shows him in happier times, in his rookie year with the Cubs in 1988.

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The courtroom saga of former Cub Mark Grace ended Thursday, according to Laurie Merrill of the Arizona Republic:

Mark Grace, in court Thursday, pleaded guilty to endangerment and DUI, avoiding what could have been a lengthy prison sentence.

Instead, a judge imposed a sentence that includes work-release jail time as well as three years of supervised probation. Additionally, an Interlock device must be installed in his vehicle for six months and he will need permission to travel out of state.

His work-release sentence begins Feb. 10.

The article doesn't say how long Grace will be in jail on work-release; this is a much lighter sentence than he could have received had he gone to trial in March on four felony counts that each could have led to one to 3.75 years in prison.

It's a big fall from grace for Grace, who also lost his job as a Diamondbacks broadcaster as a result of last summer's arrest, his second; he had been warned by team management that would happen if he had a second DUI arrest. One of the charges included disabling a previously-installed interlock device on his car, so presumably he'll leave this one alone.

To his credit, Grace took responsibility for his actions:

In an interview with the Republic earlier this month, Grace said, "I have nobody to blame but myself."

"I did this," he said at the time. "The Diamondbacks didn’t do anything. I think it’s important to own this. I own this."

I know how popular Grace was, and to some extent still is, with Cubs fans. Let's hope he takes this opportunity to get his life together.