In the ninth and final season of "The Office," Jim Halpert and Darryl Philbin land a huge meeting for their sports marketing company, Athlead, with Phillies star Ryan Howard. The episode airs in April 2013, as Howard gears up for tenth MLB season. As part of the meeting, the group discusses how to build Howard's brand off the field. Howard brings a screenplay for a film he wrote called "The Big Piece."

In real life, Howard played with the Phillies through 2016. He spent 2017 in the minors with Braves and Rockies affiliates. Howard is technically a free agent, but he is already headed down a new route. Last May, Howard announced his new role as a partner for SeventySix Capital, a sports-tech venture capitalism firm based in the Philadelphia area. 

SeventySix Capital has some similarities to Athlead, without the movie.

"This is something that is near and dear to me," Howard told ThePostGame at Hashtag Sports in New York City last week. "I've always been a people person and wanting to work with people and helping them realize their dreams, I was able to do that on the baseball field, so being able to be a part of something that can help people grow their businesses and watch their dreams become a reality is something that is really near and dear to me."

Howard spoke on a panel at Hashtag Sports with fellow SeventySix Capital partner Wayne Kimmel. Jon Powell is the firm's third partner.

"I always knew that I kind of had it on the back-burner," Howard says when talking about going from the MLB to VC route. "Obviously, going back to the younger me, I would tell me to start as soon as I got that first big deal and start working from there. But the realization really came once I signed my last deal going five years in and I just knew at some point this is going to be over. I asked myself, 'How do you transition?' I knew I wanted to transition but it was more about how do you transition and what is it you want to get into? And I knew it had to be something within the business world."

Two specific areas Howard and SeventySix Capital are focusing on are sports betting and esports. Legalized sports gambling is a touchy subject to discuss with active athletes, but now Howard is on the other side.

"I love it now, being on this side," Howard smiles. "But I understand as the athlete, you want to keep the integrity of the game."

Jim and Darryl had the right idea landing that meeting with Howard. The timing just wasn't right.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.