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

Jonah Keri , Mark Cuban
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $26.00
Kindle Price: $13.99
You Save: $12.01 (46%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews


“The rise of the Rays over the last half-decade has been so improbable it seems as if it was done by magic. It wasn’t. It took hard work, know-how, luck, and—as the title of this book suggests—those little moves on the margins that make all the difference. THE EXTRA 2% is far from a financial research paper, though—it is a fun, lively, and very smart read that might just make you into a Rays fan.” —Will Leitch, author of Are We Winning?

“Jonah Keri has given us a fascinating look at how the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays became winners. THE EXTRA 2% is a captivating book if you love baseball, but it’s an even more captivating book if you love success.” —Joe Posnanski, senior writer, Sports Illustrated

“Tampa Bay winning the American League East ahead of the Yankees and the Red Sox twice in three years is one of the most underappreciated sports accomplishments of the last twenty years. Jonah Keri has written a combination business book and wonderful collection of anecdotes that should allow the reader to easily answer the question ‘What was Tampa Bay thinking?’ as well as understand how difficult it will always be for a team in that market to open its competitive window for longer than three years at a time.” —Peter Gammons, three-time National Sportswriter of the Year

“The Tampa Bay Rays—with their ma-and-pa-sized budget—have gone head to head with baseball’s two superpowers, the Yankees and the Red Sox. In the superb THE EXTRA 2%, Jonah Keri explains how and why in a way that will remind readers of Michael Lewis’s Moneyball.”
—Buster Olney, senior writer, ESPN The Magazine, and author of How Lucky You Can Be

“All baseball fans ever ask for is hope: hope not only for a season out of their dreams, but also for leaders smart enoug...

About the Author

Jonah Keri is a sports and stock market writer. His take on the issues is influenced by objective analysis and biased Canadianism. Jonah's sports writing has appeared at, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. He is also the editor and co-author of Baseball Between the Numbers, among others. Jonah covers the stock market for Investor's Business Daily, and his podcast is one of the Web's most popular sports podcasts.

Lloyd James has been narrating since 1996, has recorded over five hundred books in almost every genre, has earned six AudioFile Earphones Awards, and is a two-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award. Lloyd's background as a performer includes extensive work in classical theater and folk music. He lives in Maryland with his wife and children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1353 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345517652
  • Publisher: ESPN (March 8, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,435 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of fluff, yet you have to read it April 11, 2011
A hard one! There certainly are not a lot books out on the Rays, and any intelligent baseball book is well worth a read. However, as well-intentioned as this work is, and the fact that if you are a baseball fan you are bound to read it, I cannot give it a great review. Here are a few points:

First, there really is NOT much there. It seems like it would have been a better magazine article. There is heavy repetition that is not really needed.

There are no interesting secrets, no revelations, not even a real idea of how the team works.

Tropicana Field is heavily featured; the general discussion of stadium building is interesting but how many times can the author complain about the Trop? Really, I think a reader would "get it" early in the book.

The history of the team is interesting - perhaps a history of the Rays would be a better work.

Inevitably, this will be compared to Moneyball. Face it, the author's premise/thesis is designed to appeal to fans of that work. However, this work is nowhere nearly as involved, or as interesting as Moneyball.

You do not get a lot of player info; more of this would bring the story to life. Yes, there are some anecdotes, particularly re: Garza and Longoria but not enough to really get an idea of the management mindset.

Overall, I do not regret buying this, and do not want to dissuade you, but it could have really been something great. I feel that a great book could be written about this team, but this is not it. In the meantime, this will have to do.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh. April 3, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Solid sort of book, but not something I would go out of the way to recommend to a friend who has interest in baseball. I felt like I've read this before and Billy Beane was way more entertaining a character. Plus, I'm interested in the Rays, and I felt like I came away with very little understanding of the new regime. I guess just playing close to the vest is part of the Wall St strategy, but it didn't leave me too satisfied as a reader. Got to know plenty about the Naimoli-Lamar fiasco, but that was a pretty public mess, and the rehash here mainly left me with pity for Chuck Lamar. The writing is okay. Some humorous jabs and quips seep in through parenthetical asides. It's very similar to Baseball Between the Numbers (the BP compilation put out a couple years back that Keri edited, and is a little more interesting than this book) in that the author asks some interesting, offbeat questions but the intellectual energy behind the question doesn't flow through the writing. All that said though, as a baseball fan, I'm glad we're seeing more books like this one these days with good, solid analysis, especially of teams that have been overlooked for too long, just like the Rays.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into an organization against massive odds September 22, 2011
By Will
No doubt, this book will be compared with Moneyball, as it is the study of how an organization against massive odds applied a unique management style and ultimately became successful (much more successful than Beane's A's, by the way). While I certainly can't speak for Keri, I read this less as a look at a revolutionary concept like Moneyball and more as the history of how a bunch of dudes from Wall Street with no real baseball background to speak of took an organization that was among the worst run in sports and turned it into a perennial winner. It is a fascinating look into just how terribly the Rays were run before the new regime took over and some of the things that they changed once they did. It also explains some of the reasons why the Rays have such problems drawing crowds (spoiler alert: it's not because no one likes the team). Maybe Keri intended this to be like Moneyball, but I read it almost as a history of their organization. And in that respect, I think, it is a very interesting read.

If there is one real nitpick I can come up with about the book, it is that you don't hear much from Stu Sternberg, Andrew Friedman, or Jonathan Silverman. However, seeing as how Billy Beane has finished in the AL West cellar the last few years, maybe the Rays brain trust simply didn't want to reveal too much. After sabermetrics was introduced to the wider baseball community, Billy Beane lost his competitive advantage; it is understandable that the Rays were wary of revealing too much. Also, I would have LOVED if Keri had gotten access to Vince Naimoli; he seems like a fascinating (read: insane) man.

Overall, this is not a perfect book; it can get a bit repetitive at times and there is not quite as much access to the protagonists of the book as I probably would have liked.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Baseball Books I've Ever Read November 1, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jonah Keri has really crafted a masterpiece in 'The Extra Two Percent'. I'm not a Rays fan(I root for the ever disappointing Brewers), but I found the book absolutely riveting.

It tells the in-depth, behind-the-scenes story of how the lowly Tampa Bay Rays went from being the laughing stock of Major League Baseball to the best run, most forward thinking franchise in the game today. He tells the history of the expansion Devil Rays going through poor ownership, poor management to, almost overnight, turning into a well-oiled machine through a complete change in the franchise's culture: new ownership, new manager, focusing on the newest metrics, and completely revamping their minor league system and drafting style.

Keri's writing style is easy to read, very informative, and occasionally funny. He's an engaging writer who, from this point forward, I will make a point to read whatever he puts out.

Whether you are a Rays fan or not, you will enjoy this book. Even if you don't particularly enjoy baseball, I still think you would enjoy this book. Fantastic, fascinating read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
... Book arrived promptly, without problems, and as it was advertised. Thanks.
Published 17 days ago by JT_Dutch
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful look into one of the greatest turnaround stories in MLB...
The Extra 2% is a story about the revival of the Tampa Bay Rays after an abysmal beginning to their life as a franchise in the MLB. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Mark Stutzman
5.0 out of 5 stars Baseball fans will love it!
A wow for baseball fans. I just wish the owners of the Chicago Cubs would read this book and figure out how to implement it!!
Published 26 days ago by C Frisco
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't know a lot about the Tampa Rays until ...
I didn't know a lot about the Tampa Rays until reading this book. It's similar to Moneyball in how it outlines how a small market team is able to compete against teams have greater... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars No dry read, but it won't shatter your heart either
If you like baseball lore and anecdotes, this isn't a book for you. But if you're interested in the struggle a MLB team goes through to survive, to compete with the biggest... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marc Ranger
5.0 out of 5 stars Jonah Keri helps introduce sports/politics of a small market team ...
Jonah Keri helps introduce sports/politics of a small market team and how they are so successful. I hope he keeps writing books that depict the small market teams and their story.
Published 3 months ago by Andrew Makepeace
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bucs are here
This is a classic classic. If it didn't change the game, then it described how it started to change. Am a big baseball fan - but hard to believe would cheer for Tampa Bay? Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Kendall
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Sports Book!
My favorite book written about sports ever. Jonah Keri really knows what he's talking about, and the story of how the Rays became the Rays in the past decade is a great one!
Published 5 months ago by Stephen Mara
5.0 out of 5 stars Good baseball business story
The Rays morphed into one of the run sports team after Sterberg etal bought the team. Joe Maddon is a genius
Published 6 months ago by Robert Bollenback
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
Jonah Keri's writing style is fluid and succinct. He really did his homework understanding not only how the current Rays Organization flexes their competitive advantages. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Eric Bird
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More About the Author

Jonah Keri is the lead baseball writer for Grantland and a contributor to ESPN's Baseball Tonight.

He is the author of "Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos" (Random House Canada, 2014).

He is the author of the New York Times bestseller "The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First" (ESPN Books/Ballantine, 2011). He also edited and co-authored "Baseball Between the Numbers" (Basic, 2006), and has contributed to many other books.

Jonah's writing has appeared in,, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Baseball Prospectus,, Bloomberg Sports, Montreal Gazette, and many other publications. From 1999 to 2010 he covered the stock market for Investor's Business Daily.

Jonah is a native of Montreal and currently lives in Denver.


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