During his playing days, former MLBer and steroid abuser Lenny Dykstra explained to a writer that he was totally unwilling to read, for fear it would affect his batting eye. This reached the point where he wouldn’t even look at road signs (presumably, while he was being driven somewhere). So when my boss, a huge Mets fan, said to me about a year ago, “I saw this thing on Lenny Dykstra on HBO Real Sports last night. He’s a financial genius!”, I was more than a little skeptical. After all, last I’d heard about Dykstra, he was running a car wash in California and getting cleared of charges that he was sexually harassing a 17-year-old employee. All of a sudden, he was a stock wiz and the publisher of a magazine for rich athletes.
I concluded that you couldn’t find a bigger sign that we were in a financial bubble than the hyping of Lenny Dykstra as a stock-picking savant.
(Another big sign of that bubble was the New Yorker deciding to commission a lengthy profile on Dykstra around this time. Interestingly, they seemed to choose a writer who doesn’t know much about baseball or finance. Maybe he’s a car wash expert. I can’t find any references to this article in the magazine’s coverage of the global finance collapse and the media’s role in hyping easy money.)
Here’s some of that Real Sports segment:
You’d think Jon Stewart would’ve picked this clip as part of his Jim Cramer beatdown-montage. To quote Mr. Cramer, â€œI think people donâ€™t think of Lenny as sophisticated. But I am telling you, Bernie, that not only is he sophisticated, but heâ€™s one of the great ones in this business. Heâ€™s one of the great ones.â€
So how’s that financial empire doing now? Well, the NYPost has just coined the name “Lienny Dykstra,” on account of his default on his $12 million mortgage.