How tough is playing this takeover game? As tough as it gets.

About six months ago, I was interviewing the president of

Bestfoods

(BFO) - Get Report

on

CNBC's

"Squawk Box," and it seemed that he was resigned to either getting his company into some sort of high-growth mode or merging his company with another large food company to get economies of scale.

I came back to the office and told my partner,

Jeff Berkowitz

, how excited I was about how Bestfoods' CEO was determined to bring out value. He yawned. No, he didn't just yawn -- he shook his head, held his nose and closed his eyes and put his fingers in his ears. He has seen so many stocks get put on our sheets for takeover spec and then get blown out as losers when the fundamentals didn't pan out.

Today when I picked up my

Wall Street Journal

, I saw the

Heinz

(HNZ)

news. I wanted to kick myself. But the denials followed swiftly. I still think it could be for real.

The irony here is where the stock was when I got all excited about it: 52. Right where it is right now. In the meantime, I could have been in any of the Reds --

Red Hots,

Red Hat

(RHAT)

,

Redback

(RBAK)

, heck, Red Rover -- and been doing better.

Takeover playing is a sucker's game. Always has been. Always will be.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long VeriSign and Conexant. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.