Arizona Diamondbacks Ax Commentators Daron Sutton and Mark Grace
Arizona Diamondbacks fans will be hearing some new voices calling the action on television when the team takes the field next year.
Fox Sports Arizona You're Outta There: Daron Sutton (left) and Mark Grace
Say goodnight, Gracie. You too, Daron.
Derrick Hall, the team's CEO, informed the media earlier today that the D-backs' longtime commentary team of Daron Sutton and Mark Grace won't be in the broadcast booth in 2013.
Today's news of their axing comes the day after the Diamondbacks wrapped up their mediocre season with a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night to finish with an 81-81 record.
The change in commentators comes as no surprise to Diamondbacks Nation as Sutton and Grace, who've done commentary for games broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona for the past six seasons, haven't called a game in quite a while. Both were also rumored to be on the chopping block as of late.
Sutton, who handled play-by-play, was yanked from the booth and placed on indefinite suspension back in late June for reasons that were never specified at the time by either the D-backs' front office or the broadcaster. Sutton told the media back in June that he had "personal matters" to deal with, and one team official said he was "taking some time off."
Online scuttlebutt over the summer stated that Sutton was suspended for "insubordination" and failing to "comply with a number of management directives over the years." One post on sports site Bleacher Report even indicated that it was due to Sutton criticizing Diamondbacks management about the team's direction.
Meanwhile, Grace's removal from his color-analyst duties came out of his being arrested twice for DUI in fewer than 18 months.
The former D-backs player, who was a part of the team's World Series win in 2001, was popped by Scottsdale Police last August for cruising around with a BAC of .128. A little over two months ago, the 48-year-old was arrested for a second alleged DUI by Scottsdale cops. Grace took an "indefinite leave of absence" from his announcing gig shortly thereafter to "seek personal assistance."
The arrests werenn't the first time that Gracie was embroiled in controversy as he infamously let loose a flurry of F-bombs over the television airwaves during a Diamondbacks game in 2005.
Hall and other team officials remained right-lipped about Sutton's suspension and Grace's DUI until today, when the D-backs' CEO held a conference call with reporters announcing the change in the broadcast booth.
"We're just looking to have a clean start, get a new team in place starting for the 2013 season," Hall says "When it came down to Daron, it just came down to philosophical differences in broadcasting with the organization and with him."
However, he complimented Sutton, who is still under contract until 2015.
"Both [Sutton] and Grace were a good team, they did a lot of good for us, they brought a lot of exciting moments to the broadcast booth and to our fans," Hall addes. "I honestly thank them for everything they've done, it's just time to move in a different direction."
Although the pair's replacements haven't been named, Hall stated that the team should reach a decision on who will call next season's games within the next three weeks.