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

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,953 ratings  ·  173 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
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ebook, 224 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by ESPN (first published February 28th 2011)
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Jake
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
Michael
“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
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Christian
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
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Gavin
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
Robbie
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
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David Peters
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
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Mark
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
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
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Steve
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
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Dan
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
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Lucander
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
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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
Autumn


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!
Carl 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
...more
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
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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
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E
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
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Matty
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
Ryan
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
...more
Susan
This book was fairly well written and makes for a nice beach read. That said, I think how much you enjoy the book will definitely depend on what your expectations for it are and your prior dealings with baseball. I have not read Moneyball, but am familiar with the concepts of sabermetrics and sports econ (having taken an economics of sports course in college). As for baseball, I've lived in Chicago, Boston, and NYC and still have yet to be a convert die-hard-fan of any team, but I can still appr ...more
Zeb Snyder
The Extra 2% is worth reading because it provides some piercing insight into how the Tampa Bay Rays have managed to succeed as a business and as a ballclub, despite having the decks stacked against them. But the book disappointed me in two ways.

First, there was far too much repetition of information in the book. There was a lot of foreshadowing early on, a lot of topics were glossed over with a promise of additional detail to come later. This was probably because of the structure of the book, w
...more
Tommy /|\
Being a major "stat-head" with my own personally created database of MLB, I'm always enamored with stories of how teams run through infrastructure - both from a statistics point of view, and from that of a business. Teaching classes on Business, I can appreciate the fine line that teams have to walk between their existence as a sports team and a profit-turning (potentially) business. Keri brings all of that to life with this story of Tampa Bay's Major League Baseball franchise. Detailing the dif ...more
Jim
Let me begin by saying that I read an advanced uncorrected proof of this book. The version that eventually reaches the marketplace may be different.

This is the story of the turnaround of the Tampa Bay Rays, an expansion team with one of the worst records in baseball from their inception until 2007, finishing last in their division nine out of ten times. They were so bad that in 2003 while appearing on the David Letterman Show, Roger Clemens read the “ Top 10 Things Baseball Has Taught Me.” Numbe
...more
James
Although it is written in a style that seems to be more like a very long magazine article than a book, Jonah Keri provides some fantastic insight into the resurrection of the largest laughingstock in American sports over the last two decades - the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays.

Without a doubt my favorite part of the book doesn't actually even discuss how Stuart Sternberg, Matt Silverman and Andrew Friedman used their Wall Street savvy to turn around the trainwreck. It's reading on how that trainwreck u
...more
Andrew
As a big baseball fan, an even bigger business of baseball fan, and an avid reader of Jonah Keri from his Grantland columns, I had some high expectations for this book. I picked it up as a sort of sequal to Moneyball: instead of how the A's were perennial contenders by focusing on stats over scouting (more specifically, focusing on stats others were ignoring) I figured Keri would write about how the Rays became perennial contenders by optimizing the different pieces of the organization (i.e., do ...more
Bob
Jonah Keri's book about the team that surprisingly won the AL East two of the last three seasons is a quick read. The basic theory of the book is that the Rays lifted themselves up from being the laughingstock of baseball in its toughest division to a contender through the shrewd use of Wall Street trading strategies by its management team, all of whom had their starts in trading.

There are also chapters about how the Rays got to be as bad as they are. The team's first owner, Vince Naimoli, is po
...more
Oliver Bateman
This is a highly readable account of the Tampa Bay Rays' surprising run to respectability, but after Lewis' Moneyball and Baseball Prospectus' Mind Game, did we need another one of these books? Moreover, was the Rays' success--two playoff appearances, one thrashing in the World Series--sufficient to warrant such attention? And finally, was it the "Goldman Sachs business methodology of going long on assets" of owner Stuart Sternberg and his team of experts that turned the Rays into winners? Or wa ...more
Wingedbeaver
With non-fiction books, sometimes the title of a book means everything. It pulls the reader in. It tells us what we’re going learn. It sets expectations. When the title doesn’t match the content or the content doesn’t live up to the title, when the expectations aren’t met, an otherwise good book can fall flat. That’s what happened with Jonah Keri’s new book, The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First. I’ve heard about this book for some time a ...more
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