Leadership in Finance: Baseball’s Jonathan Mariner

The CFO of Major League Baseball fields questions about debt, labor costs, and the steroid problem.

 The agreement was that in 2003, in order to address the union’s position that “there is no problem in baseball,” we said that we would do survey testing in 2003.  If more than 3 percent of all random, non-punitive tests came out positive, we would begin in 2004 to implement true testing with penalties attached. Since 2004, we’ve ramped up the penalties.   

It turns out, separately, that the prosecutor in the BALCO case was looking for evidence against some of the defendants, one of whom was Barry Bonds. Bonds had testified under oath in front of the Grand Jury that he had not taken performance-enhancing drugs.  In looking for evidence against Bonds, they found out about these survey tests in 2003 because the union did not destroy the samples, which was their right and their obligation to do.

The prosecutor in that case found 104 positive tests [as part of the 2003 non-punitive survey] as part of his attempt to prosecute the Bonds case and leaked the names to the media.  We went to court with the union to protect the names being disclosed because we had agreed to that under their anonymous testing plan.    

So everything was under cover for literally six years.  Recently, somehow or other, A-Rod’s name got leaked as one of the positive tests in 2003.  That is the source of all the stories about A-Rod today, the fact that someone in the prosecutor’s office leaked his name to the media and all this discussion is about something that happened six years ago. 

From ’05 to last year we’ve had increasingly positive attendance.  We think the fans believe that our game is clean today.  I’ll also say that every single year the stories come out at spring training.  You know, this information about the testing has been around for six years. 

Which team do you root for? 

I have two simple rules.  I always root for the home team, no matter where I am.   Number two, during the playoffs, I always root for the team that’s behind in games won.  If it’s down 2 to 1, I want to root for the team that’s won one game.  If it’s 3 to 2, whoever is down 2 games, I root for that team.  Why?  Because we make a lot of money in seven games.



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