I admit it: I'm no sports nut. Still, I find an occasional game fun to watch, and I recently read a review of the Michael Lewis book Moneyball, which tells the story of how the Oakland A's grew so successful.

One of the factors Lewis points to in Oakland's success was its ability to capitalize on the fact that most baseball teams tended to undervalue walks. From a fan's perspective, watching a batter stand still for four bad pitches isn't as exciting as swinging for the fences. But as Lewis explains, picking up players who were good at drawing walks contributed to the team's performance.

So what, pray tell, does this have to do with investing? A lot. Think about how lots of people invest: They look for big, fast winners in stocks. They aim to double and then triple their money as quickly as possible. And very often, they end up with lots of regrets. Maybe they swung too soon, maybe too late, maybe too hard.

The investments they avoided were the walks -- the simple, unglamorous moves. Think, for example, of investing in steady, dividend-paying stocks. (Hey! Wake up! I'm still talking -- dividend payers aren't that boring!) Sure, maybe you're wishing you'd picked up shares of the EchoStar (NASDAQ:SATS) IPO at the beginning of the year, as it rose more than 80% after that. Or maybe you've drooled at Walter Industries (NYSE:WLT) or Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), both of which have more than doubled in 2008 so far.

But many highfliers don't keep flying so high. Previous stock rocket Hansen Natural (NASDAQ:HANS) is down some 35% year to date as I write this. Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX), which gained more than 70% in 2007, has lost more than 75% in 2008. That doesn't mean these are bad investments -- but they might keep you up at night now and then. And such stocks could turn into a pop fly ball, and an out.

Meanwhile, relatively unexciting companies such as Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) have quietly grown through the years, all while paying out steady dividends. Think of dividend payers as walks -- and consider adding them to your portfolio.