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The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies…
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The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team…

by Jonah Keri

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1262495,586 (3.39)10
  1. 00
    Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (sipthereader)
  2. 00
    Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top by Seth Mnookin (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both books explore the managerial dynamics and strategies of a baseball team that took more analysis-driven approaches to succeed. Emphasis in both on the aspects of finding undervalued assets and exploiting holes in the market.
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Quick read of a solid baseball story. The work itself is somewhat repetitive, and of course the Rays have again fallen on hard times after Friedman, Maddon, and company have moved on. Keri's Up, Up, and Away is a much better book. ( )
  kcshankd | Jul 18, 2016 |
Quite dull and a poor man's version (a Tampa Bay Rays version) of Michael Lewis's Moneyball. No real additional insight beyond what is already publicly known. ( )
  lincolnpan | Dec 31, 2014 |
It's slightly immoral for me to review this book, as I've really only skimmed it. But what I have read has not been compelling -- more of a 'one damn thing after another' approach to recent (Devil) Ray history than a unified narrative or a analysis with any underlying principles. You get little capsule histories of key Ray owners/employees, but who cares? And Keri never dives deeply enough into the business process or baseball operations issues to make the analytical side interesting.

A disappointment, as I have been very impressed by Keri's short form sports journalism. ( )
  ben_a | Nov 9, 2012 |
The Extra 2% is an account of the turnaround in the (Devil) Rays fortunes when the current management team took over. It's largely focused on baseball operations VP Andrew Friedman (essentially the GM), team president Matt Silverman, and owner Stuart Sternberg, all of whom have finance backgrounds. There's also a lot about team manager Joe Maddon, of course; there are also portraits of a bunch of ballplayers.

But the book's mainly about the team's management philosophy, which amounts to "do everything better," with a hint of buy low/sell high. The management group is portrayed as both detail-oriented and willing to delegate, which is unusual but hardly unheard of. Basically, these guys set goals, execute them, then review and revise. Over and over again. Despite the book's subtitle (How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Team from Worst to First), there's nothing particularly Wall Street about what they do. The important point is knowing what you want to do and making those things happen. Many baseball teams--and many corporations--have difficulty doing that.

There's a lot of good stuff here, but it's an unexciting read, with more repetition than I'd like. There's little specific discussion of particular trades, and the Maddon portrayal leans pretty heavily on his oddities without really convincing that those are his key qualities. Similarly, there are many mentions of a boardroom coup that displaced Vince Naimoli from the team's general partner position without any details of the bargains and/or bloodletting which made the event possible.

All in all, worth reading. But hardly essential; I was hoping for more.



This review is also available on a dabbler's journal. ( )
1 vote joeldinda | Jan 30, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reviewing Jonah Keri’s “The Extra 2%” is impossible without referencing Michael Lewis’s seminal work on small-market baseball economics, “Moneyball”. Like the Oakland A’s club Lewis followed, the Tampa Bay Rays have had to spend the past decade trying to succeed as a small-market team in a sport dominated by big city teams. Tampa has it even worse than Oakland in that, while the A’s had to compete annually against teams in Anaheim, Dallas, and Seattle, the Rays have had to best baseball’s juggernauts: The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Despite playing from behind in terms of payroll, both teams learned to exploit market inefficiencies in order to build playoff clubs and challenge the moneyed baseball elite.

The history of the Tampa Bay Rays really begins with Vince Naimoli, who was instrumental in bringing baseball to the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. Unfortunately, in their rush to have baseball played in the bay area, nobody considered what a ball club run by the business magnate would be like. Naimoli made his fortune buying failing businesses, stripping their costs to the core, turning them around, and selling them for profit. He was known as a nickel-and-dimer, who considered no expense too miniscule to escape his purview. Unfortunately for Naimoli, in the world of professional baseball, thrift and shrewdness have a different name: cheap. Every expense was scrutinized and no money was spent unless absolutely necessary. For the first five years that the team operated, the front office did not have internet or email, which Naimoli considered a fad. The St. Petersburg High School band, scheduled to play the national anthem prior to a home game, canceled at the last minute when they were informed that they would have to buy tickets to get into the ballpark. In perhaps his greatest act of hubris, Naimoli tried to force the local Dillard’s to pay the club for the right to sell team merchandise. Recognizing that the Devil Rays needed the store more than the store need the Devil Rays, Dillard’s pulled all Tampa merchandise from their stores.

Within five years, the cities had turned on the Devil Rays, particularly Naimoli. A regime change was needed and in 2005, three young Wall Street upstarts took over the team and began using finance principles to build a new franchise. Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman purchased a controlling share in the club and brought in Andrew Friedman as General Manager. They significantly beefed up what had been an unimpressive minor league system. They dropped the “Devil” from the name and rebranded as the Tampa Bay Rays. And they created a more fan-friendly environment that encouraged fans to come back to the park. But most importantly, according to Keri, they embraced the financial practice of arbitrage—essentially, buying low and selling high, no matter how small the advantage—to make trades and sign players who could compete in a loaded AL East. Embracing some of “Moneyball’s” principles, they recognized inefficiencies in defense and relief pitching and began upgrading both areas. Ultimately, this new approach would pay off, as the Tampa Bay Rays would win the AL East in 2008 and make their first World Series appearance.

The Rays’ story is an intriguing one and Keri tells it well. He avoids some of the mistakes Lewis made, such as ignoring how important the previous administration’s acquisitions were to the team. In “Moneyball”, Lewis largely ignores the five most important players on those A’s teams, pitchers Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, and Mark Mulder, and pre-Billy Beane acquisitions Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada. Instead, he focuses on the Beane-acquired players who, while they made a big difference in the overall quality of the team, were not the significant contributors. Keri, on the other hand, gives credit to the Naimoli administration for making some good use of the bevy of high draft picks they acquired for losing so consistently. The core of the Rays AL Championship team was acquired prior to the arrival of Sternberg, Silverman, and Friedman. But it was, as Keri so effectively points out, “The Extra 2%” that made all the difference. ( )
  tjwilliams | Oct 7, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
In this Keri eschews Michael Lewis’ tale-telling and character-sketching tendencies in the name of straight-forward reporting. And while I loved Moneyball, I found –and I think most baseball fans will find — Keri’s approach to be more informative and intellectually fulfilling. Lewis taught us a lot about the inner-workings of a baseball team, but it was always in service of his dramatic narrative, which wasn’t always easy to accept at the time and hasn’t been unequivocally vindicated in the past eight years. Keri, in contrast, plays things matter-of-factly and simply answers more questions all of us have about what it takes to beat the Yankees and the Red Sox at a fraction of the price.
added by redsauce | editNBC Sports, Craig Calcattera (Mar 14, 2011)
 
Yes, Keri paints the trio that took control of the Tampa Bay franchise in 2005 in a favorable light, especially in comparison to previous management. Keri's heroes are lauded for changing not only the methods of the franchise, but its organizational behavior as well. But, his descriptions of the methodologies of other organizations show less of the disdain for scouts and rival G.M.s than Michael Lewis passed along in his offering.

In another example of restraint, readers of this David versus Goliath tale are not left with a feeling that the profiled underdogs will continue to lay waste to their intellectually inferior, yet more financially fortunate adversaries for the foreseeable future. Instead, we're left with the knowledge of what the Rays had to go through to compete in the American League East the past three years, as well as the obstacles facing them the next 30 years.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345517652, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:35 -0400)

"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"--… (more)

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