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Closing time
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When Andy Bernard became manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin, he decided it was time for a change.

"Every office needs an end of the day tradition. Something to tell you the day's over."

So what did Andy do? He started playing Semisonic's "Closing Time" every day at five o clock.

After nine seasons and 200+ episodes, it really is closing time for The Office. Thursday's season finale will be the show's final episode.

For close followers of the show, it's the end of an era.

No more Michael Scott "that's what she said" jokes.

No more Dundies.

No more Schrute Farms.

No more Jim Halpert camera stares.

No more anything.

It all ends this Thursday. And to celebrate, I've found a baseball equivalent for almost every character on the show. Here's what I came up with.

Andy Bernard - Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians: Swish and Nard Dog have a number of similarities. They're both musically inclined (Swisher released a children's album, while Andy is a well-known banjo player and vocalist) and each are aspiring actors. Andy actually quit his job to become an actor. Swisher didn't do that, but he did do a cameo on "How I Met Your Mother" and he's married to actress Joanna Garcia.

Both have a penchant for physical comedy as well. Andy once poured hot coffee on himself for a laugh. Swisher meanwhile is an expert at throwing pies in other people's faces.

Robert California - A.J. Pierzynski, Texas Rangers: Pierzynski and California are in a league of their own when it comes to arrogance. That negative trait hasn't stopped either one from being successful.

California interviewed for a branch manager position and was immediately named CEO. That's pretty impressive, but can California say that he's won a World Series ring? A.J. can. The quirky catcher has also appeared in two All-Star games.

Jim Halpert - Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers: Maybe we should start calling Verlander "The Big Tuna." You have to admit, he and Jim have a lot in common.

Let's start with the obvious. They're both tall (6-foot-5 for Verlander, 6- foot-3 for Halpert) and extremely good at what they do. But did you know that Verlander is almost as big a prankster as Jim?

One time, the former Cy Young winner lit Don Kelly's shoelace on fire without him knowing it. I wonder if he's ever tried hiding Jim Leyland's stapler in a bowl of jello. Classic Halpert.

Ryan Howard - Daniel Bard, Boston Red Sox: I know what you're about to say: Jesse, you're missing the easiest one. The Phillies have a first baseman with the same exact name!

True, but I think I've found a better match. Just like Ryan, Bard began his career as a temp, filling in on days when Jonathan Papelbon couldn't pitch. But when Papelbon left to play for the Phillies, Bard was converted to a starter. Similarly, Ryan got a promotion at Dunder Mifflin that required him to move to New York.

Neither one could handle the high expectations. Bard battled control issues, while frequent partying and a fraud scandal sent Howard's career into a tailspin. In the end, both were demoted.

Toby Flenderson - R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays: Knuckleballers don't get a lot of respect ... and neither does Toby.

Flenderson was a punching bag for years when Michael was in charge and the new bosses have been just as relentless.

At least Toby has a writing career he can fall back on if he ever decides to quit Dunder Mifflin. Speaking of writing, did you know Dickey penned a bestseller last year?

Kevin Malone - David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox: Ortiz knows a thing or two about getting the crowd fired up. Just ask the 35,000 who were in attendance when Papi gave his "Boston Strong" speech at Fenway Park.

Kevin's no stranger to big crowds either. His band plays at bars and weddings all the time. I'm not sure what I'd rather eat: Kevin's famous chili or some of Ortiz's spicy mango salsa.

Dwight Schrute - Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals: And you thought Dwight was intense. Harper might be the fiercest competitor in the major leagues.

Get this: Harper eats Eggo waffles before every game and sometimes he showers seven times before first pitch. Among Dwight's quirks are his wig collection ("You never know when you're going to need to bear a passing resemblance to someone") and his belief that walking in front of someone is never a good idea ("Seven out of ten attacks are from the rear").

Michael Scott - Brian Wilson, Free agent: If they ever make a sequel to "Threat Level Midnight," I hope Wilson's in it. Wouldn't The Machine be a great super villain for Michael Scarn?

Obviously, Steve Carell's portrayal of Michael Scott is a big reason why The Office has had so much success. And without Wilson, I'm not sure the Giants would have won the title in 2010.

Random trivia: Carell was on The Office for seven seasons, which is exactly how many years Wilson played for the Giants. Even weirder: Carell and Wilson both grew up outside of Boston.

Whatever happens on Thursday, it's been a fun ride.

That's what she said.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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