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The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First First

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,501 Ratings  ·  198 Reviews
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%, financi
ebook, 224 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by ESPN (first published February 28th 2011)
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Dec 06, 2011 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First” is the tale of a few smart guys bringing their business acumen to Tropicana Field, home of baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, and turning a perennial loser into a team capable of toppling the mighty Yankees and Red Sox.

Exploring a topic this mundane is no easy task, but Jonah Keri consistently swings and misses throughout the book. Most notably, the book fails to explain Wall Street strategies. The strategy
Mar 12, 2011 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports-books
Its natural comparison is "Moneyball" and that's not really fair because the Athletics and Rays stories are so vastly different and there's very few people on the planet that can write like Michael Lewis. The focus here in Keri's book is the Rays, the Wall Street geniuses who bought them and how they turned a moribund franchise into a superpower in the toughest division in baseball (basically a miracle). The book's strength lies in the detail presented about how the Wall Street guys use their bu ...more
Sep 07, 2011 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me way too long to read this but the main things I learned:
-- The former Devil Rays owner was a cheap miser who had no business owning a professional team
-- The revenue streams of the Yankees and Red Sox are so ridiculous, it's incredible that any other team can win a World Series.
-- I dislike Pat Burrell even more now because of how his contract hamstrung the team from making other moves.
-- They probably won't be moving into a new stadium for the next 10+ years despite the fact that they h
May 31, 2014 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After so thoroughly enjoying 'Up Up and Away', Keri's new book on the Expos, I went after his first book, all about the Tampa Bay Rays. This book wasn't the same history as the Expos book, but also a bit more examination of the forward thinking used by the Owner, GM, and other members of Tampa's braintrust. These men all left Wall Street careers for their true love of baseball, and took their bright ideas with them. This can be seen as a sort of companion book to Michael Lewis' 'Moneyball' which ...more
Sep 08, 2014 Dan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a Rays fan, and as someone who loved Michael Lewis' Moneyball, I came to Jonah Keri's "The Extra 2%" with high expectations.

2% is largely a disappointment. If you are a Rays fan, or simply a baseball fan who wants to relive the incredible worst-to-first run that the Rays put together in 2008, you will find some enjoyable moments here. The most interesting material, ironically, is often the stories of ineptitude from the Naomoli era, which held the then-Devil Rays down for a decade.

The idea h
May 15, 2011 Robbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robbie Sheets pages 245

The reason why i choose this book: because it talk about my favorite team the Tampa Bay Rays an how they went from worst team in baseball to the number one team in baseball with help from three wall street ownership people name Stuart Sternberg,Matt Silverman,and Andrew Friedman.

Genre: non-fiction.

Setting: St peterburg,FL home of the Tampa bay Rays.

main charcter:Stuart Sternberg owner of team,Matt Silverman presdent of the team, Andrew Friedman General Manager of the team
David Peters
Feb 28, 2011 David Peters rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what you get when combining the math awesomeness that is statistical analysis with insider baseball – a great look into what it takes to put a winning baseball team on the field. Now if you got tons of cash you can just skip all of this nonsense and just buy the best talent at the top prices and have at it. At least that is what the Yankees do and even though that alone is pretty much a great reason to hate them, it is a winning formula.

Now if you don’t have the cash (i.e. just about th
Jan 25, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, baseball
As someone who dedicates, well, every night of the baseball season to watching baseball games, I don't think that I was the target audience for The Extra 2%. Jonah Keri has certainly watched more baseball than me and has talked to and interviewed way more baseball people than me, even before writing this book. But I don't think that it's aimed at a serious baseball fan. So I'm not going to hold it against the book for mostly glossing over the 2008 turnaround season, which I actually thought were ...more
Garrett  Rosen
Nov 03, 2011 Garrett Rosen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irp
The Extra 2%

This novel, The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri is about the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that made a historic turnaround from perennial loser to consistent contender. The Rays went from so bad to so good that B.J Upton best describes their team by saying, “I used to tell people that I played for the Devil Rays and they’d ask, ‘Who are the Devil Rays?’ Now, I think they know who we are.” (Keri 3). The dramatic change in the teams productivity comes from the change in ownership. When Stuart Sternbe
Pedro Calmell
Oct 26, 2015 Pedro Calmell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with all baseball stories, it cab always be spun on two different ways. I wonder if the Rays story told here would be told very differently if the outcome had been different. Say, if the Rays had come up just short of the playoffs (still a marked improvement from the LaMar days) the process would have been the same but the storyline wouldn't be as compelling. Having said that, overcoming the traditional AL East powerhouses is a major achievement and this book does a good job of connecting the ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since day one of their short history, the Tampa Bay Rays have faced what Jonah Keri calls a “bottomless list of factors working against them.”

Drawing from nearly 175 interviews the author conducted with players, executives, politicians, fans and media representatives, in this inside look at Major League Baseball, Keri highlights some of those factors keeping the Rays in the middle of the pack.

No doubt the biggest two roadblocks standing between Joe Maddon’s team and the World Series are their
David Lucander
Apr 01, 2014 David Lucander rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun
A short book that doesn't offer much, and a bit of a disappointment. I loved when Eric Karabel (sp?) ran the Baseball Today podcast, his commentary gave me a lot more insight on the intricacies of roster management, Joe Maddon's brilliance, and the Rays way than this book did.

I didn't learn much about Wall Street strategies or how anything other than that "buy low/sell high" is a sound way to run a baseball franchise. There were cool sections on Theo Epstein's background (Yale degree in American
Apr 30, 2015 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
As a Cubs fan and an all around lover of the sport of baseball I was faced with having a new manager that I didn't know anything about. The American League or Junior Circuit if you are nasty never holds much weight with me. I didn't really have any idea what Joe Maddon was all about. I did know people smarter than me hired him and were super stoked on the hire.

Luckily Jonah Keri a few years ago wrote this book. Jonah edited a baseball stats book that I absolutely loved that had articles by him a
Daniel Nelson
The Extra 2% is an in depth look at how a small market baseball team, the Tampa Rays, executed a unique strategy to compete with larger market teams the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. While often heavy handed towards large market teams (what are they supposed to apologize for the shear number of fans or revenue streams they can generate?) the book does offer a fascinating view of how baseball management has changed and continues to evolve. The main theme is that teams have to find that ext ...more
May 19, 2012 Autumn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sports

Predictably written and not nearly detailed enough. I know what the damn team did, tell me how they did it when other teams couldn't!
Kalle Wescott
For me, as a baseball nut, this was a must-read and I give it:

* 5 stars in terms of knowledge gleaned
* 5 stars for entertainment value.
* 5 stars for ease of reading.

For most people who aren't as baseball-crazy as me, and who don't have the same thirst for this knowledge that I do, I suspect it is a 3-star book or lower.

The writing quality is 2-stars at best.

It's coverage of the Wall Street Strategies in the title is 1-star.

And it didn't go in to any great depth in to the Rays' 2008 season - 1-s
Joe Chellman
With my local MLB affiliate having just hired Andrew Friedman, and having enjoyed Jonah Keri's writing on Grantland, I wanted to give this book a go. It's interesting and pretty entertaining. Not a lot of depth, but a nice post-Moneyball look at another team with relatively little money knocking over the teams with bigger pockets.

One substantial takeaway beyond the different ways the Rays found advantages and used them: never, ever trust a baseball team when they say they need a new stadium and
Oct 27, 2015 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
Could have been a 1000 word article instead.
James Valdez
As a baseball fan I enjoyed reading this book, especially since Andrew Friedman has moved on to a position with my favorite team the Dodgers. Jonah Keri did a great job in giving us an inside look at what the team did and why. I found this to be relevant of course now as Friedman has moved on. However, I did feel like the book was a bit fluffy at parts, and he also seemed to repeat himself. I feel it would've worked best as maybe an article in a magazine. Overall though I would recommend it to a ...more
kaye shen
Moneyball-lite. Written about the underdog Tampa Bay Rays, and how they've arisen from laughingstock to annually rival the Red Sox and Yankees at a payroll dwarfed by those megaliths. Unlike Moneyball, the principle architects of the franchise and key players aren't delved into, and thus empathy and simpatico is not the same. This is in part due to the secretive nature of the ownership- so you don't get any of the compelling fly-on-the-wall chapters such as the infamous Moneyball draft room scen ...more
Dec 12, 2015 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, baseball
I've been a fan of the Tampa Bay Rays since their early days, when they were still referred to as the “Devil Rays”. I remember losing season after losing season; I remember the infamous lineup of aging bats billed as the “Hit Show”, but would be more accurately remembered by putting a leading “S” in front of that advertising slogan. AND I remember going to Tropicana Field and having the staff treat me like I should be grateful to have such an opportunity to give the organization my money since t ...more
Don LaFountaine
This was a pretty good book about how the Tampa Bay Rays looked at things differently than other teams and ended up going to the World Series in 2008

This book was not quite what I expected. I was expecting to read a book that said all the old ways of gauging talent was worthless, the only way to do it properly was to develop statistics that the average fan could not understand how to calculate, let alone be able to disagree with, and anyone who felt differently should not be in baseball. While t
Jul 28, 2015 Longfellow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports

The story of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays transition to the Tampa Bay Rays under new ownership and management, and the transformation from a decade of averaging 97 losses per season to winning the AL East two out of three seasons. Basically Moneyball 2, and I love this niche in baseball literature, at least the ones written by professional journalists like Jonah Keri and Michael Lewis.

In this one, Keri uses multiple narratives to give a detailed background of the organization's history, from the ci
May 23, 2015 Joe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like a series of feature articles suitable for the Sunday sports pages of a newspaper. On the upside, that means it's a quick and accessible read. On the downside, the chapters are poorly connected to one another, jumping from one aspect of the Rays' history and transition to another without any through line (or even connective tissue).

Some of the chapters work - the biographical profile of manager Joe Maddon is, for my money, the most engrossing and entertaining section of the b
Brian Lindberg
I came into this book with high expectations and left seriously disappointed. It was fun reliving the Rays rise to relevancy. Interesting to learn about a few of the behind-the-scenes details. But overall the book did not deliver an insightful discussion of the small edges the Rays cultivated to become a great team.

The book begins by comparing the Rays previous management to current management by saying the old just wanted results now while the new group focused on the "process" and let the res
Mar 15, 2014 E rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A VERY breezy read. I read it over a day at the same as another work. I like Jonah Keri, and the TB (Devil) Rays, but this book didn't do much for me. I thought he would get into the intricacies of a MLB front office in high-level detail. He really didn't. This was more at the high school level, not MBA.

The stories were good, the interviews thorough. I imagine he could have written a better, deeper book, but I guess he had a general-interest reader in mind as a target audience, not the nerds.
Andrew Backs
Disclaimer: My edition was an advanced reader. A few typos were fixed I'm sure. Never the less here we go....

With the success of Moneyball some years ago, it wouldn't surprise me if this book made a little buzz around the sport section of your local bookstore. While the themes are similar, please do not think this is simply another examination of Sabermetrics adapted to another baseball franchise. This book covers more of the business sense put into developing the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays.

I found
Apr 10, 2013 Matty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
To put it bluntly, "The Extra 2%" is a must-read for any baseball fan. It just so happens that the Rays are one of the three teams I follow closely (the other two being the Mets and Giants), so I really enjoyed Keri's account of how the club went from "Worst to First". Stuff like this really interests me - taking knowledge gained in one field, reworking it and then applying it to future interests. Nevertheless, I actually would have liked to see even more specific examples of data application in ...more
James Klagge
This was an article posing as a book. There was a lot of repetition--how many different ways can you say that the Yankees and Red Sox, who play in the same divisions as the Rays, have way more resources? The author found dozens. If you are simply interested in how the Rays managed to succeed for 2 seasons after a decade of futility, this book will tell you. But the title of the book suggested that there was some especially interesting angle that accounted for the success. But that was a front. T ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-library
It's unfortunate, but this book has to be compared directly to Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Both books, in low level terms, highlight how the management of two teams (Tampa Bay in this case) were able to be successful by focusing on inefficiencies in the market to compete against big market baseball clubs.

Overall, even though the book feels a little short, you do come away with a good understanding of how the team became successful at long odds. However, the major problem that I have is that the
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