Urban: Buck, Cust leave A's with class

Urban: Buck, Cust leave A's with class
December 3, 2010, 9:51 pm
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Dec. 3, 2010
A'S PAGE A'S VIDEOMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

I exchanged a series of text messages Friday morning with Travis Buck and Jack Cust, both of whom were non-tendered before Thursday night's deadline, allowing them to explore free agency.Neither move was unexpected by any means, although some Oakland fans might lament the loss of one of the power-starved team's only legitimate power sources in Cust.It can't be easy to hear that a team no longer thinks you're worthy of their roster, but as I suspected before firing off the first text to each, they went out with their integrity intact.No pouting. No jabs. No vitriol. No blame game.No surprise, either. I've covered the A's for more than 10 years now, and Buck and Cust are on my short list of players I've most enjoyed covering. They're good people, and if you believe that good things eventually happen to good people, you have to believe that both guys will land squarely on their feet elsewhere.Cust has been though this before with the A's, who didn't tender him a contract for 2010 before the deadline, either. The difference this time is that they aren't expected to bring him back, as they did -- for about half what Cust would have gotten in arbitration -- last winter.RELATED: Jack Cust statistics
The big fella, who led the team in homers for three years (2007-2009), was stung when it happened last year, and he was stung even more when they sent him to the minors to open the season. That move prompted a rare display of negative emotion; Cust lashed out at the organization.Not this time. He had nothing bad to say about the A's on Friday. He didn't have anything particularly glowing to say about them, either. In fact, he didn't have anything to say at all.
But he's always said that he appreciates the opportunity they gave him to prove that he was a legitimate big-league hitter after a Crash Davis-esque journey through bushes. And he enjoyed his teammates and the love he got from Oakland's small but passionate fan base.Buck has had his share of less-than-magical moments in green and gold, too, but he's always been quick to accept responsibility for his role in a fall from the grace that was his golden-boy status after a solid rookie season in 2007.
RELATED: Travis Buck statistics
He's been injured and ineffective ever since, and at this point he seems like a classic case of someone who'll benefit from a change of scenery.That's how he's looking at it, anyway."I appreciate the opportunity Billy Beane gave me back in 2007, and I'm gonna miss the friendships that I've made during my years there," Travis texted me. "I'm looking forward to a fresh start, a new organization and the beginning to a healthier and successful career."Class acts, both.
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