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My Last Post At OTM: Good Bye And Thank You All For Everything!

To the Over The Monster Writing Staff And Community,

After almost conducting a full evaluation of where I stand right now with my life, I am here to inform you with great sadness that I have decided to step down as a contributor to Over the Monster.

As I write post 531 here at OTM, I do so with great sadness in my heart and tears in my eyes. I could not have picked a better community and fanbase to write for. People can say what they want about Red Sox fans, but they are truly the most informed and passionate people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and writing for.

My reasons for leaving can be summed up in one word that a lot of people can probably everyone here can relate to: School. I am a 17-year old high school student and will be a senior at A.C. Reynolds High School in Asheville, North Carolina in approximately three days. I hope that this year I will be able to put the finishing touches on my High School transcript and will apply to North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. I hope to study political science or Business administration, wherever I end up going. In order to accomplish this goal, I am going to need all the time I can get. I emphasize that this was a very hard decision for me to make.

I will always remember the great times I had while I was here. I was originally brought on as an offseason-guru whose job was to update everyone with the latest trade deadline. While I believe I did a good job at this, I wanted to do something more! Advancing my activity here, I wrote a wide variety of posts. Whether it was assuring you all that Jarrod Saltalamacchia would be just fine (which I was right about) or arguing that Jonathan Papelbon needed to be traded (couldn't be more wrong), I've really had a lot of fun and I don't regret spending a minute of my time here.

I began blogging as a young 14-year old kid who had a deep passion for Boston sports. In my lifetime I have created a total of 18 blogs; all of them failed miserably. When I got the call to join the best Red Sox blog on the market, I couldn't resist.  In my time at OTM, I have written the third-most posts total about the Red Sox at SB Nation, and rank only behind former manager Randy Booth and of course, the great Ben Buchanan. Although I'm pretty sure I own the record for Gamethreads!

So many people to thank, and yet so little front page space. 

I want to first thank the amazing and well-informed community at OTM.  I know I am not exactly the most popular writer around these parts, but now's not the time for that. What I do know is that as a writer, It's my job to inform YOU, the reader. However in nearly a year writing for OTM, I can say I have learned more from you all than you guys have learned from me. You all showed a simple 17-year old southern boy the ways of sabermetrics and other advanced statistics. (No one at my school knows what WAR is!) I'm truly blessed to have had you guys to help me in my development as not only a writer, but a modern day baseball fan.

I am also proud to say that I was able to be apart of OTM's coverage of last season's stellar offseason and this year's trade deadline. Something I've always taken a great interest in has been the hot stove and trade market. Whether it was "reporting" the Adrian Gonzalez trade and Carl Crawford signing, or writing that ridiculously updated trade deadline stream. I didn't do it for my own satisfaction, I did it so you the fan could know. You guys are truly the motivation behind my blogging. Without you, I couldn't do this job.

I also want to give a shout out to my fellow writers here at OTM. It was I, Matt Sullivan and lone1c that were apart of a new package back in September. I take great interest in reading content from both of them. They seem to have fun with what they do while acting as true professionals.

Even though I haven't known them as long as the others, I was excited and overjoyed when the most recent additions of Marc Normandin, Matt Kory, and Patrick Sullivan came over to help out. I'm proud to say that in their short time here, I've learned so much from really all three of them. I consider Marc Normandin one of the best overall baseball writers on the planet. I'm proud to have called him my CO-boss here at OTM. 

Seems that I forgot one person, oh yes Mr. Ben Buchanan. Ben and I have truly been through a lot together since he took over as manager the same time I was brought on board. For one, we've been through several 15-inning, rain delayed games that have kept us both up till nearly 4:00 a.m.  We were able to cover that busy offseason together like it was nobody's buisness. I am proud to call Mr. Buchanan my boss and a dear friend. He's truly a terrific writer and someone I have looked up too over this past year. Ben, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to this site. Along with the community, Ben Buchanan is truly a driving force behind the best Red Sox blog on the World Wide Web. He's the best man I've ever worked for.

I am proud to say that I will keep my role over at SB Nation Boston and will serve as an occasional contributor who will cover both the Red Sox and Patriots. So I hope to see you all over there as well.

I will most certainly be involved in the gamethreads over here will hopefully remain an active member of the community. But until we meet again OTM, thank you for all that you've given me. This is Jared Stegall signing off for the last time here at Over The Monster. Have a good rest of your day and as always, go Red Sox!

-Jared Stegall, Contributor to Over The Monster, The Best Blog Out There