The first three days of the Diamondbacks Legends races at Chase Field have seen their share of controversy. During the inaugural race, the Mark Grace head was closing in on Randy Johnson for the lead when injured Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez distracted Grace by throwing a towel from the dugout.
In the second race of the season, the Gracie character got out of the gates quickly and looked to be cruising to an easy victory. There in front of the Dodgers dugout he unexpectedly stopped as if looking for Ramirez. That lack of judgment allowed Luis Gonzalez to take the lead and dropped Grace to 0-2 in races he should have won.
Today marked the final game of the series and a time when Grace’s character needed to step up and put the past problems behind him. When the race started Grace ran down the warning track from the visitor’s bullpen towards home plate. It looked as though it would finally be a win for Grace.
Instead he once again spotted Manny Ramirez in the dugout and became distracted. With Ramirez standing at the top step, Grace’s character stopped and emptied two full cans of silly string onto the injured Dodgers outfielder.
The crowd erupted in loud cheers for Grace. The accolades came at a price as the other characters ran past him. In the end Matt Williams recorded his first victory in the Legends race.
Through the first three races we’ve learned something. The fans are thoroughly enjoying the races that take place at the end of the fifth inning. Secondly, it is not just the large heads that resemble the Legend; the Grace character is just as slow as his namesake.
Much like the Presidents Race in Washington, it appears that Mark Grace is destined to never win. Perhaps the Legends race has its own former Cub curse.
And while I don’t normally cheer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, I tip my hat to Manny Ramirez for playing along with the craziness. He was a great sport and was all grins playing the villain to these first few races. You may not like Manny’s antics but he is great for baseball and an incredible individual whose unique personality is fun to watch at the ballpark even when he is not playing.