Ray Ratto

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The A's are in dire need of a post All-Star break lift. An honest-to-goodness old-fashioned doubleheader against the Angels is a start, whether Oakland can manager more than a split or not.

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If David Kahn hires Don Nelson, it will make Minneapolis the What-The-Hell capital of the world, wresting the crown from wherever James Harrison happens to be today.

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What are the keys for San Francisco in the second half? In order of importance, here's what the Giants are going to need between now and the final table.

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The first half of 2011 has led us to the inescapable conclusion that, manager old or manager new, these are the Oakland As --- neither sellers nor buyers as the season shifts into trade rumor mode.

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Ray Ratto believes there's no such thing as an All-Star snub anymore.

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With the Mets' Jose Reyes on the DL and Carlos Beltran tormenting Giants pitching, our Senior Insider explains the shift in interest following a loss that can only be the fault of broadcasters Al Michaels and Bob Costas.

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Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams, who led the Oakland As to two of their three 1970s World Series championships and led the 1967 Red Sox and 1984 Padres to pennants, died of a brain aneurysm at his home in Las Vegas today. He was 82.

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This season suggests that the Giants know things everyone else doesnt -- again. Why not prove it, Insider Ray Ratto suggests, by standing pat with a mutant offense, too many fifth starters, and holes in interior positions?

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We know that building new stadiums come down to two things: Where the money is, and where the shovels are. The rest of it is trivia.

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At one time Dany Heatley was immovable, but it didn't work in San Jose. Insider Ray Ratto tells us that a window in Heatley's contract allowed GM Doug Wilson to deal the high-priced winger to the Wild.

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We have long taken pride in our ability to match other cities sports owner for sports owner and claim, We Are The Absolute Worst. And for years, we were. No more.

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With the NFL lockout, football news has become a precious commodity in sports journalism. Our Senior Insider Ray Ratto puts the recent team-bonding workouts into perspective. Where are the s'mores?

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The Giants are consistently winning with a top-flight rotation and a league-worst offense. Ray Ratto breaks open the history books to search for any teams that have succeeded with such an unbalanced approach.

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Dont get too happy about L.A.'s latest shame-fest. You get no enjoyment in beating the weakened, you need the rivalry, you know this could be your team in five years, and youd want them to let you up.

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In four of his last five starts, Jonathan Sanchez has walked at least five batters. With Barry Zito starting game 2 of the doubleheader in Chicago next week, what are the Giants going to do with their pitching rotation?

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CSN INSIDERS

JOE STIGLICH

MATT MAIOCCO

SCOTT BAIR

MONTE POOLE

BILL HERENDA

KEVIN KURZ