The Extra 2%

The Extra 2%

How Wall Street Strategies Took A Major League Baseball Team From Worst to First

Book - 2011
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"What happens when three financial industry whiz kids and certified baseball nuts take over an ailing major league franchise and implement the same strategies that fueled their success on Wall Street? In the case of the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, an American League championship happens--the culmination of one of the greatest turnarounds in baseball history. In The Extra 2%, financial journalist and sportswriter Jonah Keri chronicles the remarkable story of one team's Cinderella journey from divisional doormat to World Series contender. When former Goldman Sachs partners Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman assumed control of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2005, it looked as if they were buying the baseball equivalent of a penny stock. But the incoming regime came armed with a master plan: to leverage their skill at trading, valuation, and management to build a model twenty-first-century franchise that could compete with their bigger, stronger, richer rivals--and prevail. Together with "boy genius" general manager Andrew Friedman, the new Rays owners jettisoned the old ways of doing things, substituting their own innovative ideas about employee development, marketing and public relations, and personnel management. They exorcized the "devil" from the team's nickname, developed metrics that let them take advantage of undervalued aspects of the game, like defense, and hired a forward-thinking field manager as dedicated to unconventional strategy as they were. By quantifying the game's intangibles--that extra 2% that separates a winning organization from a losing one--they were able to deliver to Tampa something that Billy Beane's "Moneyball" had never brought to Oakland: an American League pennant. A book about what happens when you apply your business skills to your life's passion, The Extra 2% is an informative and entertaining case study for any organization that wants to go from worst to first"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books : ESPN Books, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780345517654
Characteristics: xi, 253 p. ; 25 cm.
Alternative Title: Extra two percent


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Apr 18, 2017

An enjoyable read, it is not perfect. It gets a little long winded and repetitive at poin s- it would have been a much better long New Yorker article. Further, now 6 years old, many of its ideas and viewpoints are very dated.

For example, the old-school vs stats-nerds battle in baseball has been conclusively won by the statsnerds. Fans no longer care about pitcher wins; they know the RBI is a very flawed stat. Tim Raines is in the Hall of Fame, largely because of campaigning done by the author himself. Now that the argument has been won, reading in this the author praising stats-nerds seems tired and cliched.

Further, the book suffers from a pessimism over the dominance of baseball by a small clique of rich teams that reality has not borne out. Since the Rays won the AL East in 2008 every team in the division has won it at least once. Since 2012 no team has won it twice in a row. The seemingly perpetual dominance of the Yankees and Boston, which appeared unbreakable after the first decade of the 21st century, is gone.

Overall a good, if, dated read. Recommend for a long flight.

Jan 01, 2012

You have to read this if you want to know how small market teams can succeed in baseball. If you read Moneyball then The Extra 2% has to be your next baseball book..

debwalker May 07, 2011

"Although it poses as a business book, this is really an amusing history of a terrible team’s triumph."
Globe and Mail May 6 2011

jacobsikora May 04, 2011

I really enjoyed this book for what it was, a history of the (Devil) Rays in Tampa and a contrast in management styles. In many ways, I prefer this baseball book to the heavily detailed, blow by blow accounts of a season. Keri lays out the challenges the Tampa/St. Pete area had acquiring a team in the first place and then details the mistakes made by the first ownership team. He praises the changes made by the new owners and shows how this led to the first division championship. It's not all happy endings, however, as the current economic situation in the area and the lingering effects of the poor decisions from the first group make it difficult for the Rays to be a profitable ball club. Much of this is blamed on Tropicana Field and the Rays inability to get funding for a new stadium. The book left me wanting to follow the current Rays and see how they work through these challenges. My one complaint is that the author tried to make each chapter stand alone, so there is a large amount of repetition.


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