Dodgers Win!
The Week in Review -- July 24, 1998
by Jerry Thomas (

Last Monday night, two Dodger pitchers combined to throw a one-hitter, defeating the Cincinnati Reds 2-0. I know, because I was there.

Dan Dato, better known to readers of the message boards on our website as "CouchPoDATO," joined me in the upper grandstand of L.A.'s Dodger Stadium, great seats on the first base side. There we saw Dodger Darren Dreifort hurl eight splendid innings, allowing only three of the batters that faced him to reach base. That's good stuff.

The market pretty much went hitless this week, too, suffering, as it did, from a bad case of the Greenspans after the venerated Federal Reserve Chairman raised his eyebrows at the prospect of inflation. Thursday alone the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up nearly 200 points in one of its worst one-day point declines on record. No wonder I'm more interested in talking about baseball.

Dan Dato has been a frequent contributor to our (Nasdaq: AMZN) message board on our website, where his comments garner praise from both bull and bear alike. In fact, he's the author of Friday's Post of the Day. Dan was in Los Angeles Monday on business, and suggested we meet in the stands at Dodger Stadium after more than a year of communicating to each other solely via message board postings. A fine idea, I thought. Dan turned out to be younger and livelier than the image his thoughtful, reason-drenched postings had suggested to me. One more misconception exploded... it only goes to show you that you can never be too careful about what you read on those wacky Web boards.

So, we chugged Dodger Dogs and let our conversation ramble as I thought about how there really is a community of investors out there, that there is a real person behind every screen name, and that as detached as we are from one another in this new communications medium, that detachment is only a choice. People can use the Internet to make connections that are as significant as any that people have ever made. Applause for Darren Dreifort, and applause for those, like "Couch," who are putting this medium to good use.

So why not put this medium to good use yourself? Speaking of significant connections, how about the one made in this week's StockTalk interview with Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO) CEO Tim Koogle? Fools Yi-Hsin Chang (TMF Puck) and Brian Graney (TMF Panic) drew some insightful responses from Koogle. Brian and Yi-Hsin even dared to ask the infamous "NetanYahoo" question. It's a lively and enlightening exchange -- a must not only for investors, but really for anyone online. Those who prefer the ol' alphanumeric interface to the voice-based aural data input approach might want to read the transcript rather than futz with the RealAudio version.

Also, this week saw the unveiling of the Fool's Midyear Market Review. This is a meaty analysis of some of the big winners and losers in the stock market over the first half of 1998. Check it out and you'll be able to study the dramatic stories of such net-happy go-getters as K-tel (Nasdaq: KTEL) and Infoseek (Nasdaq: SEEK), as well as the woeful wailing of those sorry hound dogs Sunbeam (NYSE: SOC) and Consolidated Cigar (NYSE: CIG). That alone would have been enough to get me clicking in, but somebody at HQ decided that we needed a bit more enticement. Hence the prizes available to the winners of our Midyear Midterm contest, including a $3000 trading account at Web Street Securities.

Now, I ask you, isn't there something crass about these money-grubbing prize packages? I mean, really. Investing is a lofty, aesthetic pursuit, not something we want to see sullied by anything so crass as a financial reward, is it? Or should I just shut up now and let you fill in your entry?

Other features well worth your clicks:

-- Last Friday, Dale Wettlaufer (TMF Ralegh) began a five-part series in the Evening News explaining in detail the concept of Return on Invested Capital (ROIC). This often-misunderstood but very basic tool for stock analysis comes under Dale's deep examination. Those who come to the Fool to learn would do well to spend some time reading each of the entries in this series.

-- In Tuesday's Cash-King Portfolio report, Rob Landley (aka "Oak" on our Web boards) considers the benefits of a long-term approach to investing and points out that many great investments have little to do with what you might see flash by on the stock ticker. In other words, Rob talks about having a rewarding life, not just a rewarding portfolio.

-- If you're looking at ways to vanquish your consumer debt, draw some inspiration from Thursday's Fribble. Captain Terrence T. Manns updates us on his family's efforts to step out from under that credit card burden. His tips are both practical and motivational -- and they work.

Finally, back to Dodger Stadium. Between innings, I asked Dan if he thought Mark McGwire would break Roger Maris's single-season home run record. McGwire, as of this writing, has 43 boomers under his belt and needs only 19 more to claim a spot in the books. Dan replied that not only would McGwire break the record, he'd go on to hit 70 homers, maybe more.

You're swinging for the fences on that one, Dan.

Until next week,
Fool on!


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