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Game Four of the World Series. It was looking like the Red Sox were going to complete the sweep of the Colorado Rockies, but many of us were on the edge of our seats, wondering if the Rockies would regain some of the magic that propelled them into the fall classic.

And then came the announcement that threatened, for at least a few minutes, to dwarf the game being played on the field: Alex Rodriguez had decided to opt out of his $25 million a year contract with the New York Yankees and declare his free agency, willing and able to go anywhere for more money.

It was not, of course, just the ludicrousness of the money that disturbed so many baseball fans. It was the timing. Only Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, would think to wait until the middle of perhaps the final game of the World Series to make the announcement, as a way of saying that his player – who no doubt will find someone to pay him upwards of $30 million a year for the next decade to play baseball – is bigger than the game.

(I’m betting, by the way, that A-Rod ends up playing for the San Francisco Giants, where they need a big name to replace the departing Barry Bonds. Besides, it has poetry – a swollen paycheck replaces a body swollen by steroids.)

I recommend that you find a copy of the October 29 issue of The New Yorker and read the profile of Boras, which conveniently came out just around the time he pulled this latest stunt. It is a devastating piece of writing – never coming right out and damning him, but adding up the facts and figures in such a way that one cannot do anything but hate what he has done to baseball. (Not alone, of course. He’s been aided and abetted by owners and players. But he may be as close to the devil as we’ll find around the game.)

One of the best things about the article is the title: “The Extortionist.”

One other note about the A-Rod announcement. A number of people have gotten on Fox Sports for mentioning the pt-out during the game, but I don't blame them at all. I’m not a big Joe Buck fan, but it was news, everybody else had it, and it would have been silly not to mention it.

Besides, I found the discussion about A-Rod a lot less nauseating than all the harping about the stupid Taco Bell stolen base promotion.

Have you seen this story? An 18-year-old British kid created his own commercial for the new iPod Touch on his home Mac, then posted it on – and it got so much attention that Apple had its ad agency contact the kid and turn the ad into a professional version that is playing on the networks.

The amazing thing is that it took him one day to produce – and the original, which I saw on YouTube, was terrific.

Which leads me to two points:

1. How many customers feel so passionate about your business and products that they actually would produce a commercial about them?
2. Have you ever though of sponsoring a contest that would encourage your customers to do just that – create a TV commercial, with the winner getting some sort of relevant prize? Sounds like a good idea to me.

Next year is going to be a great year for sci-fi geeks. Not only is there a new “Star Trek” movie due for Christmas 2008, but now comes word that there will be a new “X-Files” movie coming out next summer – July 25, to be precise. The old producers and writers are involved, and both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will be back as FBI agents Mulder and Scully.

I can’t wait.

I saw “Rendition” last week, which is a movie about what happens when the Department of Homeland Security mistakenly kidnaps a suspected terrorist and flies him to Africa to be tortured and interrogated. One of a number of movies coming out about terrorism, the war in Iraq and its consequences, it is well written and directed, and nicely acted by people like Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin and Jake Gyllenhaal. However, I can’t help but think that the question it poses is one that deserves a more profound treatment in the arts, in the newspapers, and around dinner tables all over America.

And the question is this: When do we stop being us?

Want to hear a great new album? I’ve been listening to Levon Helm’s “Dirt Farmer” on my iPod, and it is bluesy and soulful and just wonderful. Give it a listen.

I haven't seen many new television programs this season, but one I’ve grown to like is NBC’s time travel-themed “Journeyman,” which is on Monday nights at 10. So far, it is constructed like a puzzle – a little bit of “Quantum leap,” a little bit of “Star Trek: The Voyage Home,” and some nice performances by Kevin McKidd as the time traveling journalist, and two intriguingly named actresses (Gretchen Egolf and Moon Bloodgood) who play the women in his life at different points in the space-time continuum. I have no idea how the premise is going to pay off…but so far, I’m enjoying the ride.

My wine of the week: the 2004 Chianti Colli Senesi from the Villa St. Anna vineyards in Italy – a smooth and tasty Chianti that is one of the best I’ve ever had. Yummm… it isn’t cheap (I paid about $20), but I was told this has more to do with the declining dollar than anything else. Besides – it was worth it.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend – I will.


KC's View: