I've been bitching about Mark Grace on Cubs' broadcasts from the very beginning without hesitation. I've instantly said he sucks as a broadcaster, and in response you guys have repeatedly told me to Fuck Off. Time & Again I'll remind you guys that Len & JD are more than enough. And Time & Again you guys say I'm an idiot and that Mark Grace deserves a spot in the booth alongside the heavy hitters. And as a refresher this isn't some accident. The Cubs intentionally planned on having a consistent 3rd wheel for the new Marquee Network broadcasts:
Well it didn't take long for things to go south with Grace
Here's the audio in full. Good luck making it through without several hard cringes:
But go ahead and tell me how good he is for the broadcast. I'll be here waiting. Never mind that the Cubs have an already dynamite combo in Len & JD. Never mind that nobody really complains about their 1-2 punch. Don't worry that this has never been a material issue requiring any level of correction. That won't ever stop the Cubs from complicating something.
And now that means propping up the ghost of Mark Grace, a name and person that hasn't been relevant here other than in nostalgic episodes or when answering the trivia question about which player accumulated the most hits throughout the 1990's. After that, pleasant reminder Grace has been in Arizona for the better part of 20 years working for the Diamondbacks and being their hometown guy. So now to bring him back and rope him in (REMOTELY) to the broadcast as a Cubs' Lifer is just weird. And out of place. And ruining the vibe that Len & JD have been building for years.
That was my principle argument when I got my first taste of Grace. It sounded and seemed like anything he'd offer up would predate the millennium and I haven't been exactly wrong. Not saying he should be shit canned and never work again for the Cubs. I just think there's a lot better ways to incorporate local names into the broadcast without compromising everything we've come to love and know about our broadcast team.
That said, I want to give credit to Marquee Network in some respects. I've bitched a lot but to be clear that's almost entirely to the people at the top making decisions and patting their own backs incessantly. There's actually phenomenal talent on the ground floor doing the heavy lifting from the digital content guys to the social media team to the graphics and studio people and Taylor McGregor and Cole Wright and all the professionals that are actual professionals in the industry. They've been great, much like Len & JD for years. It's just the overwhelming dosages of bad opinions from irrelevant players that we don't need.
With that, I can't just bitch and leave. I have to at least propose a solution so here's what I'd do. Keep Dempster around and if you want to use Grace, fine. But bring them in for the bottom of the 3rd and turn his mic on when the lineup gets to the 2nd time through the order. Then have him talk about what the starting pitcher is doing, or what the Cubs have done so far. Be technical and specific. Give the guy a full inning to do the same and get deep. Then bring him back in the 6th and get some keys to the game as we're winding down. Use them as real experts with actual experience in Wrigley Field. Don't just have me hear some tired ass story about where they were during game 7 four years ago. Nobody cares about that stuff enough to get it as much as they give it. That's just my 2cents.
PS - Funny that the Cubs think Barstool is too risky but an unfiltered lubed up Mark Grace on the other side of the country is just fine.
PPS - arguably the worst story I've ever heard. Get this guy a fucking water. I can't believe this was actually told to a national audience.