So maybe the Milwaukee Bucks had a plan after all…

I think it’s fair to say Milwaukee Bucks fans had a fair amount of angst and worry about the 2019 offseason. Despite one of the best seasons in franchise history the Bucks failed to overcome the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals, and given the possibility of seeing three key players (Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and Malcom Brogdon) leave in free agency it seemed changes might be inevitable for the team.

As the free agency period loomed the Bucks began making moves, announcing the team had re-signed Brook Lopez to a four-year, $52 million contract followed by an even bigger announcement – Khris Middleton had been re-signed to a five-year, $178 million contract. While I absolutely LOVE the deal the Bucks cut with Brook Lopez, I’m less enthusiastic about the contract the Bucks gave Middleton. While I don’t think they overpaid considering the market for players who can do what he does, I do think the last two years of that contract could be an absolute albatross for a team that might not have much wiggle room when it comes to absorbing bad contracts.

Quickly two of the team’s biggest areas of concern were resolved, leaving only the status of Malcom Brogdon. The team waited until the last hour to extend a qualifying offer to Brogdon, thus making him a restricted free agent, and then it was announced the team had in fact re-signed Brodgon…and then traded him to the Indiana Pacers for three draft picks. Some Bucks fans were upset by the move, but I think it’s a winner. The team turned an injury-prone second round draft pick into a first round pick and two second round picks – that’s not a bad haul for a guy who had injury concerns coming out of college and hasn’t done much during his time in the NBA to assuage those concerns.

To address their depth at guard after trading Brogdon the Bucks re-signed guard George Hill to a pretty reasonable three year contract and the team then signed center Robin Lopez to a two-year contract to add some front court depth. Today the team announced it had agreed to terms with swingman Wesley Matthews on a minimum-salary deal. Wesley Matthews is a great low-risk, high reward signing, and what’s more it shows Milwaukee may finally be a destination for veterans looking for a chance to play on a legitimate NBA title contender.

Signing Hill, Robin Lopez, and Matthews may not be as “sexy” as some of the moves made by teams like the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, but I think the Bucks have actually improved their depth and defense with the moves they’ve made, and I’d argue this is a vastly improved team from the one that lost to Toronto in the Eastern Conference finals.

Happy Birthday Blogging Blue!

Twelve years ago Blogging Blue sprang into existence. While I’m not as active there as I used to be in its heyday I’m really proud of what those of us who contributed there built. While blogging’s time may have passed with the advent of other social media options, I’m darn proud that Blogging Blue has endured as long as it has.

Ed has done a great job of shepherding Blogging Blue and I’m keen to see what the next twelve years have in store!

A thought (or two) on toxic masculinity

I’ve been working on drafts (13 to be exact) of this for months because I’m not really sure where to begin – so I’m just going to start.

I’m a proud father and a husband to strong, independent, amazing women – women from whom I’ve learned amazing lessons about how to be a better man. My wife and daughter aren’t the only women in my life from whom I’ve gained insight into my place in this world as a man, and I’m thankful for the insight I’ve gained. I think back to who I was as a younger man and I’m thankful for the man I am now – and for all the people (predominantly women) who’ve helped me get to this place.

I’ve learned a lot along the way – and I’ve had my eyes opened to how utterly pervasive toxic masculinity has become in our society, from the toxic fans of some of our favorite superhero and science fiction movies to social media and television shows. We’re all inundated with examples of toxic masculinity, and when it’s pointed out there’s often ridiculous backlash from (mostly) men who feel threatened by the notion that they’re not the center of the universe and their manhood should not confer upon them the ability to act any way they choose without consequences. A perfect example of how men who feel threatened by the #metoo movement and what it represents can react when challenged can be found in the comment section of this short film from Gillette on YouTube.

Actor Terry Crews – himself a survivor of sexual abuse and toxic masculinity – gave testimony to Congress which is important in summing up what men need to do to hold each other accountability and to work towards putting an end to the vicious cycle of learned behaviors that creates such distorted, toxic, and incredibly pervasive ideas about what a man should be.

As a man who was raised to stay inside the “man box” of toxic masculinity I’m working to become the best version of what I think a man should be – someone who sees women as equals and partners and who sees women as being every bit as strong, capable, intelligent, and everything else that men can be. More importantly, I’m working to become the kind of man who isn’t afraid to hold other men – not to mention myself – accountable for toxic behavior towards women. Sometimes holding ourselves accountable is the most difficult part of all, because it’s the least comfortable, because it’s never easy to admit when you’re wrong or that you’re flawed. Accountability and growth are hard, but when it comes to toxic masculinity they’re absolutely critical if anything’s going to change.

And boy do things need to change…

Brewers welcome back Keston Hiura, Tyler Saladino

Yesterday the Milwaukee Brewers made a couple of really interesting roster moves. In the first move the team announced third baseman Travis Shaw was being optioned to Triple-A San Antonio and top prospect Keston Hiura was rejoining the team. In a brief 64 at-bat stint with the team earlier this season Hiura hit .281 with 5 home runs and 9 runs batted in, while on the other hand Shaw has struggled through what can only be described as an absolute s–t show of a season. Obviously this move means we’ll see Mike Moustakas move back to third base with Hiura manning second base.

In a related move the Brewers also announced utility player Hernan Perez was being designated for assignment. While Perez has struggled at the plate this season he’s been a valuable utility player for the team, having played every position on the field except catcher during his three plus seasons with the Brewers, so I thought he’d be given a little more time to come around at the player. It’s clear the team had lost patience – and given the high expectations for the team entering this season I can’t really blame them for making moves to put the best possible team on the field.

While there’s a part of me that hates to see Travis Shaw and Hernan Perez leave the team after what they’ve helped the Brewers accomplish there’s another part of me that’s glad to see GM David Stearns making moves to improve the team instead of showing blind loyalty to players based off past accomplishments. The Milwaukee Brewers are a better team with Keston Hiura and Tyler Saladino replacing Travis Shaw and Hernan Perez – so now that these moves are made I’m left to wonder what (if anything) the team will do to address its pitching problems.

The problem with “Indian Specials”

I’m a big fan of the YouTube channel “Just One More Watch”. Jody from Just One More Watch does a great job of sharing his enthusiasm for watches in general and great value watches in specific. He’s particularly fond of sharing his “Chinese Specials”.

As I’ve posted here more than once I’ve started my watch collection with some vintage watches purchased on eBay from sellers in India. While two of the watches I’ve received have been just as described, I did receive one watch that didn’t work (and which I’m still dealing with a return for). Today I received another vintage watch – after nearly two months due to some odd delay in shipping. Th watch is a vintage Citizen, and here’s what I was supposed to receive:

While it’s nothing fancy I think it’s a sharp vintage watch. However, that’s not the watch I got in the mail today – this is.

While the watch I received today is a Citizen it’s most certainly not what I ordered for. In addition to the garish blue dial the watch I received had a case back that was poorly fastened and a giant crack on the case. Considering this watch was purchased from the same seller as the two “Indian Specials” I had received in good condition, I was surprised at both the condition of this watch and the fact that it wasn’t even the watch I purchased. As I’ve ventured into the world of watches – specifically vintage watches – I’ve learned a healthy amount of “buyer beware” is the best way to approach any watch purchase because you never really know what you’re going to get.