Days, Mark Grace teaches young Diamondbacks how to hit. Nights, he spends in the Maricopa County Jail's Tent City, where it gets cold at night. See, Grace is serving some time for drunk driving. I'm not a big fan of Sheriff Joe (or the people who elected him, come to think of it), but Tent City does seem the right place for someone who committed Gracie's crimes. But I've got a particularly intolerant attitude when it comes to those crimes (and some others, but that's a discussion for another career that I'll probably never have).
Proctor, who said he was a binge drinker, has been sober four years. He doesn't miss the beer, he says, only camaraderie that went with it.
He'll even stop at the beer cooler now, he says, and grab a few cold ones for the guys, but only if they promise to sit down and talk shop.
"I lived a lifestyle like 90% of ballplayers," Proctor says. "You sat around and had six beers after a game, went to dinner and had another six, and then guys are calling you to a bar where you're drinking more.
"That wasn't right. I know it wasn't right for me. But as far as guys talking about the game over a few beers, I really think baseball misses that."
Right or wrong, it's never coming back.
Gee, if a dozen beers is just getting warmed up for a fantastic evening is wrong, I'm not sure I wanna be right.
Seriously, guys have been saying things like this for ... oh, some decades now. If you believe the stories, the old-time players showed up at the ballpark at the crack of dawn, talked baseball until the game started at 1 in the afternoon, talked baseball for a few hours in the clubhouse after the game, then went straight back to their hotels and talked more baseball until they fell asleep. Whilst sharing beds with each other.
If you believe some stories. If you believe other stories, a lot of guys couldn't wait to get to drinking and gambling and whoring after the game, and there might have been some baseball talk sprinkled in there but there might not have.
I don't know if guys talked more baseball in the old days than they do now. It's certainly possible. I'm pretty sure there were a lot more raging alcoholics back then. Seems like a pretty fair trade-off to me. Especially considering how incredibly professional and dedicated most players are, today.