Great Opener for Cardinals, Matheny

Great Opener for Cardinals, Matheny

After it was over, with the Cardinals defeating the Miami Marlins 4-1 to shatter the mirror ball in this garish disco of a ballpark, the mischievous players went after manager Mike Matheny.

They invaded the visiting manager's office at Marlins Park and dragged him out into the hallway, though Matheny didn't put up much of a fight. His players celebrated his first major-league victory by showering him with chilled bottles of ice water.

"And then we pulled him out and doused him again," pitcher Adam Wainwright said.

Said the drenched but happy Matheny: "The refrigerators are working well in this place."

Matheny had every reason to grin. It was his first night as a big-league manager, and his team's opening game of the 2012 season, all of it showcased on ESPN. And his players delivered a clean, crisp 4-1 win. How does it get any better than this?

Here's how: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, presenting Matheny with a game ball. Remember 2004? Matheny was the veteran, tough as a railroad tie. Molina was the fabulously skilled rookie, called up from the minors to be groomed to take Matheny's starting job.

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