I walk into Gibbons's office. Ricciardi and his assistant, Tim McCleary, flank Gibbons's desk.
"Close the door," Gibbons says. "Have a seat.
"This is one part of the job that's never easy. You gave a great effort out there. We appreciate it, but ... it's a good thing you have another job. We've got your unconditional release papers right there. Sign both copies."
That's it. It is officially over. I walk back to my locker, toss my copy of the release onto the top shelf and plop down on my chair. And suddenly I see, tucked behind the miraculously laundered and hung undergarments, my maple bat in its two-piece eternal repose. And I have to smile. For it is then that I know for certain that I have summoned the game's splendor in all its fullness. ?