This is a book for baseball fans, primarily, but they chose a narrator who obviously isn't one, and butchers many names well known to fans. He pronounces Piniella "pin-ee-ella". Glavine becomes "glav-eye-n". This lack of attention to detail by the producers of this audiobook is really too bad for the author.
My reviews are always pending.
After reading Moneyball, I really wanted to read The Extra 2% to try to understand the business side of Major League Baseball and how things work besides trading players and stats. By no means, I'm not a fan of the game, but I have a vast interest on businesses and how they compete with others.
The Rays are no different than an ice cream truck owner, trying to compete with Baskin Robbins and trying to get some of their big brother's business. The truck owner will have to pay for marketing, more trucks, more drivers and more overhead, in hopes to gain more business. This is exactly what is happening with The Rays.
When the team was known as the Devil Rays, they had a miser, cheap, owner, that let the team ans stadium go to garbage. The previous owner had no customer service skills at all, by kicking out their fans just because they brought their own food in the park. Until the ownership changed hands, the Devil Rays was doomed.
The Rays are in a small market and due to the current economical funk, they have yet to get an new stadium and no matter how well the team plays, they can't get over the hump from the big hitters, such as the Yankees.
This is an excellent business book to understand team sports and how they are run, beyond the head coach.
Keri is very knowledgeable about baseball, but has dumbed down the subject a bit too much. He also apparently did not have nearly the access that Billy Beane had given Michael Lewis, and so relies too much upon telling rather than showing or discussions from the relevant characters.
The title is a bit misleading, as it feels like the story he spins is 60% "Tampa Bay can never compete because of baseball's revenue gaps" or "Tampa Bay was a horribly run franchise for years", and only 40% (or less) on how the Rays manage to compete with the Evil Empire and the Sox anyway. He hints at issues between the Red Sox ownership and the Tampa ownership, but, with no access to any of the parties involved, he leaves it unexplored.
Unfortunately for Keri, I think any book of this sort will be compared to Moneyball, and the writer to Lewis. While Keri, undoubtedly, knows more about baseball than Lewis, myself, or 99.9% of all Americans, you wouldn't know it from this book. And Keri, while a better writer than I could ever hope to be (check him out on Grantland), may be better suited to essays and articles. He repeats points, arguments and jokes (3 times referring to different sums of money as "rounding errors" for the Yankees and Red Sox), and leaves the most interesting parts of the Tampa story relatively unexplored.
As for Lloyd James, pleasant voice, okay pacing, but either he knows next to nothing about the subject matter, or he mailed it in.
This was not nearly as electrifying as MoneyBall. I liked the insight on Joe Maddon and many of the Ray's players. MLB looks very bad for the way they handled the expansion team and the way the share revenue. The deal that had the Rays play in St. Petersberg was a mess. It is amazing that the Rays survived, let along won in the AL East.