The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri

Since their initiation into Major League Baseball, there has been a dark cloud looming over Tampa Bay. A cloud formed by the sheer financial dominance of New York and Boston, the perennial tyrants of the American League East. For nearly a decade, Tampa Bay finished in the pit of the division with very little hope of improvement. Divine intervention, a whole lot of luck, and an extra 100 million dollars seemed to be the only solutions for the Tampa Bay Bottomfeeders.

Billy Beane and his Oakland ball club (which was chronicled in the book Moneyball by Michael Lewis) may have changed the public’s perception of statistics and debunk traditional baseball thinking, but it did not make things easier for cash strapped teams. The Yankees, Red Sox, and other high rollers quickly caught on and used their economic supremacy to purchase armies of baseball statisticians to once again defeat their underprivileged owners. If Tampa Bay wanted to win, it needed something different.

The Extra 2% follow the history of the Tampa Bay franchise from the first attempts to grab a Major League club (they actually had the San Francisco Giants until the Commissioner stepped in and canned the entire deal) to the day Akinori Iwamura stepped on second base to send the Rays to the World Series.

Young blood, on the field and in the front offices, made the Tampa Bay Rays a force to be reckoned with. This book follows the modest moves made by modest men to make modest improvements. It didn’t take a huge free-agent signing. It didn’t take a large influx of money. It didn’t take a shiny new stadium. It took just a commitment, an uncompromising one, to doing every part of the job better.

The Extra 2% is the next chapter in the Moneyball era. If you enjoy seeing how a modern day baseball team is run you will enjoy this book.