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04/21/09 11:30 AM ET

Little League looking to pay Dukes' fine

Nats outfielder was late to clubhouse after greeting children

A Washington-area Little League said it will pay the $500 fine that outfielder Elijah Dukes was assessed for arriving late to the Nationals' clubhouse on April 11.

The Great Falls Little League is in the process of raising the money, plus $1 in "administrative expenses" to pay Dukes' fine, according to a report in The Washington Post.

It was the league's Opening Day event, for which Dukes was paid $500 to attend, that caused him to arrive late, prompting the fine from Nationals manager Manny Acta, along with a warning that another tardy arrival would earn him a ticket to the Minors.

Dukes had spent the morning cheering on the 54 teams in their parade and giving a speech to the kids, encouraging them to work hard and have fun. Because the event ran a little longer than expected and had not been scheduled as a community event by the team itself, it was not considered an "excused absence" and thus the fine was levied.

When the league's parents heard about Dukes' fine and benching the next day, they mobilized to raise money to pay his fine.

"The point is, this guy gave back to our community, and now he's in a hard spot. We need to help him," league president Jim Mraz told the Post. "It's not a question of whether this guy can afford the 500 bucks. We're just trying to send a message to our kids: He was here for us. Now we've got to be there for him."

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.