A's GM Beane, team president Crowley get 7-year deals

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Athletics general manager Billy Beane,
the architect behind Oakland's four division titles since 2000, was
rewarded with a seven-year contract extension Wednesday.

Team president Michael Crowley also received a seven-year
extension from A's owner and managing partner Lew Wolff, who lauded
both men for their work with the club.

The A's reached the AL championship series last season, getting
swept in four games by the Detroit Tigers.

"Mike and Billy were my first free agent signings and both
continue to demonstrate their talents as two of the finest
executives in the sports industry today," Wolff said in a
statement. "I am very pleased their relationship with the A's will
continue during one of the most exciting and important times in our
team's history."

The A's have the fourth-best record in baseball and have been to
the postseason five times in seven seasons since Beane was hired in
1997. Oakland has remained competitive despite being in a small
market with an aging, multipurpose stadium, the Coliseum. That has
forced the A's to watch big-name stars leave town for large-market
clubs in free agency. Barry Zito, Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi,
Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder are among those who left Oakland.

The A's financial situation nearly led Beane to leave town in
2003, when he was offered the general manager job in Boston. Beane
opted to stay in Oakland and was given a lucrative extension in
2005 when Wolff, who had just purchased the team at the time, also
gave Beane and Crowley small ownership stakes in the club.

Beane's innovative approach that focuses on developing talent
from the farm system and unique methods of scouting and player
evaluation was the subject of the best-selling book "Moneyball:
The Art of Winning an Unfair Game."

Crowley, 43, is in his ninth year as president of the A's. He
primarily handles the business side of operations and is a key
figure in the team's efforts to build a new stadium in nearby