10/06/2002 00:50 am ET
Grace: It was a great season
By Mark Grace / Special to MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Veteran first baseman Mark Grace just completed his 15th season in the big leagues. The three-time All-Star, who started the Diamondbacks' ninth-inning rally with a single off Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of last year's World Series, agreed to provide daily column for MLB.com throughout the Division Series. In his final column, he reflects on a successful season.
It was a great season. We accomplished a lot of things. I don't think I've ever had more fun with a group of guys than I did this year. I was always brought up that you win with class and you lose with class, and the Cardinals outplayed us.
You never want to lose the last game of the season, but I can certainly accept it and realize that repeating is very tough.
The disappointment will be there for me, and it will be hard to watch the rest of these playoff games -- very hard to watch. I had a lot of trouble taking my uniform off. I didn't want to take if off and I don't want this season to end. Unfortunately reality is this season is over.
But you look back on this season, see what Randy (Johnson) and Curt (Schilling) did, what Junior Spivey did and Quinton McCracken did and what we accomplished as a team. The way BK (Byung-Hyun Kim) came back and had a fabulous season; guys like (Mike) Koplove. So many great things happened this year, only it didn't transpire into a World Series win again.
But I don't think I've ever been more proud of an organization.
We're crestfallen. But I can accept the fact that we lost and the Cardinals were better than us in this series. It doesn't make it any easier to handle, but looking at it, we got outplayed.
What we overcame and what we did this year, I'll never forget. What a great group of guys, coming together to accomplish what we did. I'm sorry that it's over and I can't go back to the ballpark tomorrow, but I'll look back on this as one of greatest years I've ever been a part of.
We know we have a lot of good players coming back, and I want to go a little farther next year, get back to that apex. We fell short of our goal to win another World Series, but man it was a fun ride while it lasted.
The Cardinals played so well and we couldn't keep up with them. I had an awesome time with these guys and I'm looking forward to playing with them next season.
Mark Grace's player column appears as told to Rich Draper, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.