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World Series 2001
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11/01/2001 03:02 AM ET
Grace still grinning about Series experience
By Steve Gilbert
MLB.com
Grace (right) is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Speier after his solo tater in the fourth.
NEW YORK -- When he saw Yankee Stadium for the first time, Mark Grace reflected on what a great honor it would be to play in the House That Ruth Built. He marveled at standing in the same batter's box as Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and all the other Yankee legends. In fact, he was so impressed he deemed the Stadium "perfect."

Wednesday night, Grace added his name to the list of legendary players who have launched postseason home runs at the Stadium when he hit a fourth-inning solo shot into the upper deck in right field. The blast tied Game 4 of the World Series at 1-1, but the Diamondbacks would go on to lose in heart-breaking fashion, 4-3, in 10 innings.

Grace's home run ball was thrown back on the field by the New York fan who caught it. It was given to Grace, who said he is saving the ball to give to his son, Jackson, who will turn 1 later this month. After hitting just 163 home runs in 14 big league seasons, Grace thinks he may have a hard time convincing his son he really did homer in the World Series.

"He probably won't believe it," Grace said. "I wish it would have been something that helped us win, but it's something no one will ever be able to take away from me."


"It's the World Series and I've waited a long time and I'm just having a ball, win or lose. We want to win this thing because we've come too far and fought too many battles, but win or lose I'm just so proud of this team and these guys."

--Mark Grace

Not even a loss as tough as the one in Game 4 will take away the pleasure Grace is deriving from making his first World Series appearance.

During 13 years with the Cubs, he accomplished many personal milestones, including three All-Star Game appearances and four Gold Glove Awards. But the one thing that eluded him was postseason success. The Cubs appeared in the playoffs twice during his time with them, but did not win a postseason series.

"You guys don't understand how much fun that is out there," Grace said. "It's the World Series and I've waited a long time and I'm just having a ball, win or lose. We want to win this thing because we've come too far and fought too many battles, but win or lose I'm just so proud of this team and these guys."

The Diamondbacks won the first two games of the Series in Phoenix before dropping the next two, both by one run, here in New York.

Except for Arizona's 9-1 blowout in Game 1, the games have been tense and hard-fought, and while most of the Diamondbacks wore somber expressions after Game 4, Grace couldn't keep the smile off his 36-year-old face.

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"This is fun," Grace said. "Two terrific teams exchanging haymakers in the middle of the ring. This is fun, so much fun. That place was rocking out there and then when (Erubiel) Durazo hit that double it was stone silence ... and then they were rocking again. It was good stuff out there tonight."

The Diamondbacks send Miguel Batista to the mound Thursday in hopes of taking a 3-2 lead in the series heading back to Bank One Ballpark for Game 6.

With the momentum starting to turn against the Diamondbacks, it would seem like the pressure is on them in Game 5. That may be, but you'd have a hard time convincing Grace of that.

"I'm having too much fun out there to be worried about coming back," Grace said of how his club will rebound Thursday. "I'll just have a good time and enjoy it. I've waited too long to worry about stuff."

Steve Gilbert is the site manager of azdiamondbacks.com.