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Passing the Over The Monster torch

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The time has come to hand off the reins

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

I’m not terribly good at this sort of thing, so I’ll just come out with it: this is my last day at Over The Monster.

It’s been over seven years now since site founder Randy Booth (who, it occurs to me, many of you may never have even heard of before) asked me if I’d be interested in writing weekly pieces about the minor leagues. If you dig deep enough into the archives, you can still find my first on catching hopefuls, including names like Mark Wagner, Luis Exposito, Ryan Lavarnway, and Tim Federowicz. Was Jason Varitek’s replacement already in-house? Safe to say, past self, the answer was no.

Those were heady days, back when the Red Sox playing in October had started to feel as much a guarantee as the Patriots playing in January. Unfortunately, things didn’t always stay that way. The Red Sox ended up missing out on the playoffs more often than they made it in these last eight seasons, including the gut punch that was 2011 and the utter slogs that were 2012, 2014, and 2015.

All the bad times, though, are excused by the magic of 2013. I’ve certainly enjoyed championship seasons before, but nothing quite compared to the experience of that worst-to-first season, in no small part because of the community on and surrounding the site. That ride would not have been the same without debates over starting Jackie Bradley Jr.’s clock too soon, Nava-Carp bouncing and Koji high-five GIFs, and being able to feel like I’m watching games with a local crowd no matter how close to or far from Fenway I may have been.

And, thankfully, the Red Sox let me end things on a reasonably high note. The ALDS can only do so much to diminish the many wonderful aspects of this past season. Rick Porcello won the Cy Young, Mookie danced the Carlton, all’s right in the world.

With that said, let’s move on to the nitty gritty of what’s coming next for the site.

I’ve known for a while now that the time was coming to hang up my blogger hat, but couldn’t pull the trigger in the middle of a season and, frankly, didn’t much want to end things on the sour note of 2015. But, with Marc already making his own transition (a process that, let me tell you, lasted way longer than you might guess), and 2016 providing a fine last ride, this seemed somehow to be a natural cutoff point. I do hate to drop this so soon after Marc’s departure, but the only reason we didn’t bow out at the same time was to avoid leaving the site vacant and forcing Justin Bopp (our MLB league manager, who you might remember from this post) to rush the search for a replacement.

Well, the seach wasn’t rushed. The number of applicants apparently reached triple digits, and it took more than a month to get everything sorted out. Time well spent, as I couldn’t be happier with the end result. Longtime OTM mainstay Matt Collins will be taking over for Marc and I, and while that might severely impact the ability of Over The Monster to keep up with Joe Kelly on Twitter, I’m confident he’ll find a way to pull through. I’d wish him good luck, but I don’t think he needs it.

As I said at the start, I’m not terribly good at this sort of thing, so I’ll keep the end brief. I don’t intend to disappear entirely. You won’t be free of me that easily! I’ll probably still be kicking around in the comments, getting dug in on whatever opinion I happen to have at the time, and making sure devotion to The Aceves stays at acceptable levels. I’ve also got a Twitter account which I imagine I’ll actually use now that it’s my only one. But for the first time in a long while, I plan to watch a Red Sox reason without thinking about recaps. I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll see you all around

-Ben