Synopses & 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%, 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 colleagues 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 Bay 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.
"An entertaining sports book that switch-hits as a business guide to achieving success, Keri's first major effort (after editing Baseball Between the Numbers) chronicles the ups and downs of Major League Baseball in Tampa, Fla. In 2005, former Goldman Sachs partners Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman acquired the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a hapless franchise that had debuted in 1998 and was left battered and embarrassed by a cheapskate owner. The dynamic duo exorcised the 'Devil' and rebranded the team the Rays, repaired community and corporate relations, and used a model approach to build the 2008 World Series champions. The book's title comes from Sternberg telling Keri that the Rays had to do everything 2% better to beat the odds in professional sports' toughest division. Keri, a financial reporter, takes inspiration from Michael Lewis's trailblazing Moneyball, and can recount a ball game and break down revenue with equal ability. His flair for pitching opinion spares neither Major League Baseball nor the Rays organization whose tightly guarded front-office honchos granted Keri generous access. The result is an eye-opening look at where the business of America's pastime is headed. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jonah Keri is the co-author and editor of Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong, as well as a contributor to ESPN.com, SI.com, Baseball Prospectus, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. He writes the flagship stock market column for Investor’s Business Daily and has been named the lead baseball analyst for the new Bloomberg sports venture.