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This and that

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Each week I'll talk about the world of sports…

• What about the performance of Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb? Remember the name –W-E-B-B! He was the NL Cy Young Award winner last year and he is making a run at it again lately. A lot of people don't know his name, but this guy is so legit. He has thrown 42 straight scoreless innings, chasing Orel Hershiser's mark of 59 in a row. Think about that – 59 straight scoreless innings … that is almost seven straight complete games worth of zeroes! Hey, 42 in a row isn't too shabby either! Webb has thrown three straight complete games. His latest gem was a shutout of the Braves, leading manager Bobby Cox to eloquently reminder people about last year's Cy Young award. Could it be two in a row?

• The Michael Vick story is so sad, and now that all of the co-defendants have plea bargained, all willing to testify against the Falcons quarterback, the future is bleak. It will be interesting to see if Vick goes ahead and battles in court or plea bargains. In my opinion, based on the testimony given by the co-defendants, it is doubtful that Vick will ever put on an NFL uniform again.

• Boston fans have to be wondering what is up with Eric Gagne? So far he has been a disaster for the Red Sox. Everyone thought he was the final piece to the puzzle, enhancing an already solid bullpen. Gagne was supposed to help Boston wrap up the division. He came in Friday's night's second game of a day-night doubleheader with a lead as the Red Sox were on the verge of a sweep over the Angels. Instead, he gave up three runs and Boston settled for a split. You can understand if he struggles once or twice, but this has been a recurring theme since his arrival to Fenway. The Red Sox are paying major dollars and he has not delivered. This has been a nightmare so far. I feel that he will eventually get the job done.

• There has been some talk that former NBA referee Tim Donaghy is going to implicate up to 20 other officials who were involved in some gambling situations. Reports indicate these referees may have been in casinos, in violation of their contract. To me, Donaghy is a guy whose back is against the wall and now he will try to bring others down. Something tells me that this guy is in this by himself, isolated and is looking to take some of the heat off of him. I believe that when it comes to betting on games, this is an isolated case.

• Carlos Zambrano may have made more money if he went on the open market as a free agent. Other teams would have gone after him big-time! Instead he stayed with the Cubs because he loves Chicago. This 26-year old is very emotional and can be dominating. He is another NL Cy Young candidate. He signed a five-year deal worth over $91 million … that's not too bad! Think about it, he could have made over $100 million somewhere else. Alfonso Soriano got around $136 million, so the Cubs are opening up their wallets, baby! Zambrano may be a STEAL! Why couldn't I throw a fastball?

• It has been a tough season for the White Sox, losers of eight straight games after being swept by the Mariners. One bright spot has been the recent success of reliever Bobby Jenks. He tied a major-league record by extending his streak of consecutive batters retired to 41. On Sunday, Jenks did not get a chance to break the record shared by Jim Barr. He warmed up in the late innings but was not put in.

• Roger Federer did it again, earning career tournament title number 50. He earned it with a win over James Blake in the finals at Cincinnati. Federer will be hard to beat at the U. S. Open again in a few weeks.

• USC is number one in the preseason polls and that is not a surprise. Pete Carroll wants to be atop the rankings at the end of the season. This gets everyone out in Los Angeles excited and it shows where the talent level is for the deep Trojans. My friends, there are so many star running backs on the roster that when one transferred recently, nobody broke a major sweat in USC country.

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