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

Jonah Keri

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Description de l'ouvrage

8 mars 2011
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.

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Extrait

CHAPTER 1 STALKING HORSE

Victory is yes after a thousand nos. --Rick Dodge, former St. Petersburg city administrator

Big Jim Thompson stalked the floor of the Illinois state legislature, sweat soaking through his shirt and streaming down his brow. The Illinois State Senate had narrowly passed a bill that would pay for a new stadium for the Chicago White Sox. It was now up to the House of Representatives to approve the bill. That meant Thompson, the six-foot-six, 230-pound Illinois governor, now had to crack some skulls.

The Senate’s vote had been contentious. Dissenting lawmakers blasted the bill. They asked why Illinois should shell out nine figures to build a new ballpark for White Sox owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn, both of them millionaires many times over, while the state’s schools went woefully underfunded. Now House members were expressing similar objections. Worse yet for Thompson, the clock was ticking. The General Assembly had until midnight Central Time to pass the stadium bill. If the House failed to get the necessary votes, July 1, 1988, would be forever remembered as the day one of baseball’s oldest franchises was forced out of town.

Twelve hundred miles away in Florida, St. Petersburg couldn’t sleep. Hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent on committees and feasibility studies. Millions more were spent to remove toxic chemicals from a downtown plot of land that once housed a coal gasification plant. Another $138 million would be spent on a domed, multi-use stadium on that site, which the city had begun building--on spec--to attract a major league team.

Giddy with anticipation, St. Pete’s community leaders and baseball advocates watched the clock approach 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time. For months, speculation had grown that the White Sox wouldn’t get their deal and would bolt for Florida. Local newscasts had long ago embedded reporters at the Illinois Statehouse, and live reports were now streaming in from Springfield, Illinois. St. Petersburg’s hulking new stadium was half-completed, still awaiting an anchor tenant. In just a few minutes, the city would learn if the stadium plan variously described as courageous, reckless, and just plain ballsy would finally reel in the Major League Baseball team that the stadium’s builders craved.

As the deadline approached, Governor Thompson’s lobbying efforts intensified. He towered over House members, grasping shoulders, shaking hands, whispering threats to some, promises to others. Thompson saw the White Sox as a vital part of Chicago’s very self, a valuable institution with a history stretching beyond anyone’s living memory. The governor gradually swayed votes to his side. But every time he looked up, he would see that damned clock. All the pleading and cajoling was about to go to waste. With midnight about to strike, Thompson was still six votes short. The governor had only one move left.

He stopped the clock.

“We were live on the air, and twelve o’clock came and went,” recalled Mark Douglas, a former reporter for WTSP-TV St. Petersburg who was embedded at the Illinois Statehouse. “John Wilson, our news anchor at the time, says, ‘Mark, help me out here. I thought the vote had to be made by midnight.’ Sure enough, the clock in the chamber was stuck at a few minutes before midnight. Since they’d stopped the clock, they had not officially reached their deadline.”

Even by the down-and-dirty standards of Illinois politics, this was a jarring move. The state had seen countless Chicago aldermen rung up on racketeering and extortion charges, judges brought down for accepting bribes, mayors and state senators indicted or convicted on various charges. Two decades later, sitting governor Rod Blagojevich would be impeached and removed from office for a range of alleged infractions--including an alleged pay-to-play scheme in which he plotted to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder--and later convicted on a charge of lying to the FBI. But never in Illinois history had lawmakers stopped time to get what they wanted.

Thompson took full advantage. The governor secured the votes he needed, then put the bill up for vote. The proposal was approved by a thin margin: 60–55.

“It’s a political resurrection from the dead,” Thompson beamed afterward.

Meanwhile, the mood turned to shock and anger in St. Pete. The city had collected nearly twenty thousand entries to name the new stadium. Thousands of Florida White Sox T-shirts were chucked into the trash. The local media eviscerated Thompson and the rest of the Illinois General Assembly.

In a court order the day after the vote, David Seth Walker, the longest-serving circuit judge in Florida history, summed up the unlikely chain of events that got the Chicago stadium bill passed. Only twice in the history of man had the passage of time stopped, Walker proclaimed. Citing the Bible, Walker noted that the first instance occurred when Joshua was surrounded by enemies and feared he’d be overpowered upon nightfall. He pleaded to the Lord, who responded with a miracle--making the sun stand still. The second time happened in the Illinois legislature.

Major League Baseball had just begun to take St. Petersburg for a roller-coaster ride. With a completed, mostly empty stadium, the city wouldn’t--couldn’t--jump off.



Long before Vince Naimoli made baseball miserable for an army of sad, black, gold, green, purple, and teal-clad fans, the people of St. Petersburg pined for any major league club at all. But once an MLB team finally came to St. Pete, it stunk. Imagine you’re a Chicago Cubs fan, doomed to follow a team with no hope of winning the big one . . . no matter what the theoretical odds say. Only instead of playing in picturesque Wrigley Field under bright blue skies, you watch your Cubbies lope after fly balls in a windowless warehouse somewhere in Indiana--a warehouse you waited half your life to get built. Use the Tampa Bay Devil Rays conversion system, where ten years of losing (most of those under the worst owner in sports) feel like a hundred, and you have a sense of the despair that rained down on St. Pete. It would take a complete management overhaul, a new generation of young star players, and a full-blown exorcism to finally turn the tide.

The city’s baseball history wasn’t always so glum. St. Pete had plenty of happy baseball memories dating back a lifetime before Major League Baseball ever arrived.

In 1902, the St. Petersburg Saints started play as a semipro team. The Saints eventually evolved into a minor league team, before folding in 1928. Another minor league club called the Saints emerged nearly two decades later. That team would later become the St. Petersburg Cardinals, and eventually the St. Petersburg Devil Rays, going through five different major league affiliations. St. Pete gained greater recognition as the birthplace of spring training in Florida. Starting in 1914 and spanning ninety-four years, the city played host to eight spring training teams. Babe Ruth played there. Bob Gibson pitched there. Casey Stengel managed there. Still, the city’s baseball track record was far from perfect; St. Pete had suffered through its share of minor league attendance problems. It would take a while for the city to pop up on Major League Baseball’s radar as a viable candidate for relocation or expansion.

Jack Lake was one of the first civic leaders to push for a big league team in the Tampa Bay region. By the late 1960s, the longtime publisher of the St. Petersburg Times was using his influence to rally local businessmen, politicians, and other influence peddlers to the cause. Those lobbying efforts eventually gained momentum. In 1977, Florida’s legislature formed the Pinellas Sports Authority--named after St. Petersburg–encompassing Pinellas County--which the state hoped would play a leading role in attracting Major League Baseball to the area. Three years later, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce formed a dedicated baseball committee. In 1982, the city offered a stadium site to the sports authority for $1 a year in rent, the first of many major concessions that local government would grant along the way. The next year, St. Pete’s city council approved the new stadium project.

The ensuing two-year period marked a tumultuous time for St. Petersburg’s stadium efforts. First, the county withdrew its support in 1984. The city and Pinellas Sports Authority countered with a lawsuit the next year and eventually prevailed. A public hearing followed, exposing passions on both sides. Stadium backers didn’t want to see two decades of lobbying and goodwill wasted, even if they hadn’t yet locked down a baseball team to actually play there. Local residents didn’t want their tax dollars funneled into a new ballpark, a stance other cities would have done well to follow, given the billions of dollars in taxpayer money thrown into baseball team owners’ pockets during the stadium-building boom that would soon follow. But against opponents’ protests, the city council voted to proceed with the stadium project anyway. On November 22, 1986, St. Pete staged what it called “the World’s Largest Groundbreaking.”

As the stadium took shape, a handful of MLB owners began offering their support. Philadelphia Phillies owner Bill Giles was one of the first to speak out on St. Petersburg’s behalf. Giles was a member of the National League expansion committee, and he had plenty of local knowledge--the Phillies had played their spring training games in nearby Clearwater since 1947. When St. Pete applied for expansion, Giles aimed to learn more about the city’s credentials.

Giles took a group of Phillies personnel and outfielder Von Hayes to St. Pete’s new dome to see how the roof would play in a live baseball g...

Revue de presse

“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 enough and imaginative enough to figure out how to make those dreams reality. In THE EXTRA 2%, Jonah Keri not only presents this blueprint followed to perfection but does so with a brilliant page-turner of a book that will satisfy fans of both baseball and first-rate writing.” —Mike Vaccaro, columnist, the New York Post

“There are a million ways to build a World Series team, but no one has ever built one quite like the Wall Street escapees in Tampa Bay. After reading Jonah Keri’s brilliant account of the Rays’ rise from laugh track to payback, I found myself thinking, ‘The heck with Moneyball. Give me Equityball.’ ” —Jayson Stark, senior writer, ESPN.com

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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  107 commentaires
58 internautes sur 62 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A lot of fluff, yet you have to read it 11 avril 2011
Par Standard Poodle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
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.
22 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Meh. 4 avril 2011
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Insight into an organization against massive odds 22 septembre 2011
Par Will - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
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. However, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about just how the Rays have been run throughout their history and why they are now successful in the brutal AL East. There are a couple of great anecdotes as well, including one about Albert Pujols and one about a vodka-shooting penis; these alone are worth the price of admission.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the Best Baseball Books I've Ever Read 1 novembre 2011
Par Arthur Kicker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
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.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Insight into the Machine 23 août 2011
Par Jason Chamberlain - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
This book offers some great insight into the workings of MLB and the Rays in particular. I was a season-ticket holder for the inaugural season in 1998 and have loosely followed the team since moving all around the country. This book explains a lot about how the franchise was run and contrasts that with how it is run today. This is a great book to read after Moneyball as it represents the same kind of thinking, but in a more holistic way. While Moneyball focused on the game itself, this book also looks at what it takes to properly sell the baseball product to the community.

My favorite chapter was the one on Joe Maddon. As a baseball fan I have always found him confusing. I thought he was just quirky and intentionally unpredictable, but this book shows that there is a lot of thought and analysis that goes into each of his decisions. The thing that impressed me the most is that neither he nor the franchise are as concerned with results as they are with making sound decisions.

This may sound ridiculous, but it deals well with the nature of the game. It is the manager's job to put the team in the best situation to succeed. That means strategic decisions such as player acquisition, but it also means tactical decisions such as when to bunt or when to intentionally walk a hitter. The problem that most fans do not recognize is that all the manager can do is call what should be the right play. He cannot control what happens between the lines. There is an element of chance inherent in every game, which is what makes it interesting. The manager and front office must make the right decisions and see how it works out. This is similar to a blackjack player that statistically must hit when holding 16 against a dealer showing a 10. He may draw a 6 and bust, but it is the correct move based on the math.

The chapter on the 2008 run to the pennant was fascinating as well. It also showed the human element as the team gelled into one that would make it to the World Series.

There are two factors that kept me from giving this book five stars. One is that the author uses crude language unnecessarily. I understand that men around baseball use salty language. I am fine with quoting them when appropriate. The story around "STFD" is great. But there is no reason for the author to use such language in his narrative. It felt a bit too conversational to me.

The other is that the book repeats itself. Perhaps this is because I received a pre-release copy for review purposes, but I felt like it could have used more editing. There were several times when I thought, "Didn't I just read about this?" The material in this book is great, but it needed a little more work to fit together better.

Nevertheless, this is a very informative book and one that any baseball fan would enjoy. I certainly recommend it.
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