Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 5/14/12
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. With the Cardinals having five different starting times for their five-game homestand this week, Matheny has already been caught twice himself. And he's hoping to catch others. "I'm back here and a lot of times they go out that other door and I don't even see anybody going out and if it's a little different on the timing, the next thing you know" Matheny said. "They've got me twice." Matheny has put someone in charge or monitoring the bullpen and another to check on the position players in the dugout. Players can't just sneak out during the anthem either. "You have to be there for the 'Oh'," Matheny said of the song's first word. The Cardinals manager said he's installed a few other fineable offenses, mostly centering on arriving on time and getting their work in. And so far he hasn't found too many people to fine. "We haven't got many guys at all," Matheny said. "They apparently don't like to give 50 away, but believe me, I have no problem taking it. I've been donating." The Cardinals entered Monday night's game against the Chicago Cubs with a 20-14 record, good for first place in he National League Central Division.
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