Worth the Wait

Mario Alioto celebrates with the Commissioner's Trophy after Game 5 of the World Series in Asrlington, Texas on Monday, November 1, 2010. The Giants beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 to become the World Series Champions. ©2010 S.F. Giants/Mikulecky

When Mario Alioto first joined the San Francisco Giants as a kid in 1973, he couldn’t know he’d have to wait 37 years for a World Series win. After near misses in 1989 and 2002, his team finally broke through in 2010, taking down the Texas Rangers in five games to capture the team’s first title since 1954.

"It’s still sinking in," says the 1982 Saint Mary’s graduate and member of the College’s Board of Regents.

"It wasn’t until September that we started thinking something special just might be happening. Before we knew it, the Giants were World Champions and we were walking down Montgomery Street in the victory parade."

Alioto was certainly invested in the team’s success, after working his way from bat boy in the early '70s all the way to his current position as senior vice president responsible for all revenue generating areas of the Giants organization.

"My mentor was Pat Gallagher, who ran the Giants business operation for many years and offered me my first front office job after I graduated from Saint Mary’s," says Alioto. "He always told us that the ballpark experience was critical and to remember that we were in the 'fun business.’ We constantly ask ourselves: what can we do to appeal to the casual fan? How do we keep the ballpark the place where everyone wants to be?

"I like to try new and crazy concepts like selling rubber chickens when Barry Bonds was walked intentionally or developing a Tim Lincecum wig last season. But, the best promotions are the ones that developed organically in the clubhouse. Who would have thought that 'Fear the Beard’ would have taken on a life of its own?"

Alioto’s rise has been marked by his passion for the game of baseball and a set of values that grew stronger during his years on campus. "The influence of the Christian Brothers is present throughout the Saint Mary’s College experience, and the benefit of an education at Saint Mary’s based in Catholic principles can’t be overstated," says Alioto.

"What stayed with me after all these years has been a commitment to bring the core values of integrity and honesty into every decision. These values, plus a mindset that we can accomplish anything if we are passionate enough, have been critical to my success, both in business and in life."

One way Alioto is helping Saint Mary’s stand out is by serving on the advisory board for the Professional MBA with Sport Management concentration, the only one of its kind in
Northern California.

"The business of sports is complex today, from changes in marketing and how we communicate with fans, to the challenge of utilizing the stadium for more than just sports events to financial management."

And what’s the best preparation for dealing with all this complexity in business and in life? Just ask Alioto: an education at Saint Mary’s grounded in rigor and a commitment to values.