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Marquee Network hires Mark Grace as analyst

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The former Cubs first baseman is back in the fold. And, another woman joins the network.

Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Mark Grace was a popular Cubs player from 1988 through 2000. His 2,201 hits in a Cubs uniform rank fifth in club history, behind Cap Anson, Ernie Banks. Billy Williams and Ryne Sandberg.

Grace left the Cubs as a free agent after 2000 and signed with the Diamondbacks, upon which he immediately got a World Series ring. He’s been with the Arizona franchise ever since, calling games on Fox Sports Arizona from 2007 through 2011 and since 2017, a studio analyst. He was also briefly a coach in the D-backs system.

Tuesday, the Marquee Sports Network announced that Grace would be joining the network for analysis both pre- and post-game, and also some in-game work.

“My years as a Cub were very special, and to return to Wrigley, the Cubs and the best fans in sports as part of Marquee Sports Network is something that means a lot to me,” said Grace in a statement. “I’m thrilled to be back!”

He’s not all the way back. The Marquee Network release indicated that Grace will continue to do work for Fox Sports Arizona, an unusual arrangement.

Marquee also announced Tuesday that Elise Menaker, a Chicago-area native and current reporter and host at the Big Ten Network, would be joining the Cubs TV channel as a host and reporter. In that role she will also create feature stories and other content for the network.

“With Mark and Elise joining our already stellar lineup of on-air talent, Marquee Sports Network’s roster will be unmatched by any other regional sports network anywhere,” Mike McCarthy, general manager, Marquee Sports Network said in a statement. “Mark is one of the most revered players in Cubs history and a polished baseball broadcaster, and Elise brings versatility, energy, an array of TV experience and a familiarity with Chicago, all of which will make her a tremendous asset.”

The Marquee Network is scheduled to launch a week from Saturday with a broadcast of the Cubs’ first spring game against the Athletics from Sloan Park at 2:05 p.m. CT.