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Thank you, Bucs Dugout

Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

13 years is a long time. I’ve written about the Pirates since 2004, and I’ve run Bucs Dugout since its inception in 2005. I’ve been covering this team for more than a third of my life, and Bucs Dugout is one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with. So it feels strange to write that, within a few weeks, I’ll be resigning as Bucs Dugout’s editor.

This was a hard decision, but it’s time for something new. I’ve been considering stepping down for awhile, but thought I might change my mind as the season approached. I haven’t, unfortunately.

One of the bigger reasons I’m leaving is a boring one: The site’s workload (or at least the site’s workload during the season) was increasingly keeping me from accepting more lucrative work opportunities. But there were other reasons as well. Many of the best things I’ve done in my life (including a lot of pieces of music I’ve written, as well as my book about the Pirates, Dry Land), were longer-term projects, and the ephemerality of day-to-day coverage was getting to me — most of what’s written on a site like this is read today and forgotten tomorrow. There’s also often the nagging feeling that I should be writing something, even on days when I don’t write much or at all. I’m tired of needing to have opinions about everything, and I want to spend less time on the Internet so that I can think at a slower pace. I’ve been writing a book about music on and off for the past three years, and I want this to be the summer where I finally finish a draft. I also haven’t dedicated as much time as I’d like to the classical music I write, and I want more uninterrupted hours for that.

It also feels increasingly strange to write so much about one baseball team. This will be the first year that everyone on the Pirates’ roster will be younger than I am, and it seems more and more awkward to, say, wander into a minor-league locker room to try to ask a 22-year-old how he feels about defensive shifts. Many better writers than I don’t seem to have this problem, so maybe I’m just having an early midlife crisis. But paying this much attention to the inner workings of one organization has seemed increasingly strange as I’ve gotten older.

All that written, I’m proud of Bucs Dugout and deeply happy and honored to have met so many bright, accomplished and passionate people who read the site. I’m also incredibly proud to be associated with my fellow BD writers.

Even before I started writing about the Pirates, I knew Wilbur Miller and Vlad as two of the most knowledgeable and articulate fans commenting about the team on the Internet. I was thrilled when they turned up here as commenters, and I was even more excited when they joined me on the front page. Wilbur’s minor league recaps have been a crucial part of what’s made Bucs Dugout what it is.

David Manel started here writing sabermetric articles and ended up as a reporter, spending countless hours at PNC covering Pirates home games. He’s a brilliant and deeply thoughtful person who I’m honored to work with.

David Todd began writing here many years ago and has remained associated with the site (co-hosting something like 65 podcast episodes) even as his profile as a sports commentator has grown both locally and nationally. Joshua Choudhury actually had to stop writing because he got hired by the Blue Jays. That’s amazing, even though one of his first orders of business was to help snatch Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez away from the Bucs.

Eli Nellis, Bill Pollak and Dan Hopper have all been indispensable in their help with game writeups. Eli is an accomplished former newspaper reporter who I met randomly at PirateFest and who was one of the stars of Dry Land; his dedication to the site and his super-clean recaps have been a big help here. Bill, of course, has taken time out of his very busy career as a musician to write for the site. I’m a longtime admirer of his writing, going back to his very early days with the Pirates blog Romo Phone Home, which he ran with his son Calvin. And Dan is an impressive comedian and one of the best tweeters I follow, on Pittsburgh sports or any other subject. Travis Barnett has been a terrific recent addition to the site, and I look forward to continuing to read his work going forward.

I also want to thank a number of other people who’ve been supportive of Bucs Dugout, including (but not limited to) fellow Pirates writers Pat Lackey, Travis Sawchik, Tim Williams, Kevin Creagh, Brian McElhinny, Matt Bandi, Ed Giles, Kurt Hackimer, Tom from Rumbunter, and James Santelli; media folks from elsewhere like Rob King, Scott McCauley and Chris Mueller; current and former SB Nation colleagues like Anson Whaley, Steve Catanese, Michael Bean, Jimmy Rixner and Aaron Hawley; and, from the Pirates and their affiliates, Frank Coonelly, Neal Huntington, Kyle Stark, Dan Hart, Terry Rodgers, Jim Trdinich and Adam Marco. I’d also like to thank my good friend Ryan Carra and my brother Sam, who helped start my first blog and wrote some of its earliest posts.

I’d also like to thank you, the readers, particularly those who’ve commented, written FanPosts, contributed questions to the Ask Bucs Dugout feature, corrected my typos, come out to gatherings, said hi at games, or otherwise let me know you were out there. You’ve always meant a lot to me, particularly those of you who’ve been with the site since the Pirates’ streak of losing seasons. There were times when quitting would have seemed like the only dignified option were it not for you. As it turned out, I lasted through three Pirates playoff seasons, years I’m proud I stuck around to cover.

I’ll still be at MLBTR once the transition takes place. You can follow my writing there, if you like. And as far as I know, I’ll still be on the BD staff as a contributor. I’m not sure how much I’ll write, and I think it might be a good idea for me to stay away for awhile to let the new person develop their own vision for the site. But I’ll be around.

SB Nation will now begin the process of finding a new editor. I’ll stay on for a couple weeks until that search is complete, but the coming weeks will be my last in my current position. Thank you all for reading.