ST. LOUIS - Cardinals manager Mike Matheny thought it was odd when he realized he hadn't seen any of his players walk by his office before the start of their game against the Atlanta Braves Friday night.
Then he realized they had snuck out.
Hoping to catch their skipper at his own game, players hurried out a back door and onto the field in time for the national anthem. Because a pregame ceremony to honor former manager Tony La Russa had changed the anthem's usual time, Matheny missed it.
And he lost 50 because of it.
The first-year Cardinals manager has instituted a policy where anyone who is not on the field for The Star-Spangled Banner before the game gets fined 50. The money is collected by a team trainer and will be given to charity after the season.
"That deal with the ceremony the other day, they actually moved it up even further and I'm sitting here and these guys all sneak out there and they came in and they were really excited about me paying 50 bucks," Matheny said.