Why can't baseball have a Mr. Irrelevant?

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
11:44
AM ET
The week has come to worship at the altar of the NFL draft, a process so storied that we lavish extraordinary attention on the last player selected -- the esteemed Mr. Irrelevant.

But why can’t other sports salute the embarrassment of being the last one picked?

[+] EnlargeHisashi Iwakuma
AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonFandom tips its cap to Hisashi Iwakuma, who finally appeared in a Seattle Mariners game on Friday.
We think we found a similar niche in baseball: the last player on an Opening Day roster to appear in a game who wasn't injured or optioned to the minors.

This year, that (dis)honor goes to Seattle pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. For 15 games, the plan was to use him in long relief -- but the Mariners’ brain trust could never orchestrate the proper soft opening to introduce the 31-year-old.

But on Friday night, with the Mariners down 6-1 to the White Sox, Iwakuma was allowed to unleash his heat for the final four innings. He gave up one earned run on one hit, striking out two and walking one.

Thus, for the rest of the season, his stats project to -- well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The point is, baseball needs to loosen up and celebrate the significance of this event!

Sure, Chicago's Philip Humber threw a perfect game in the same stadium the very next day. Duly noted.

But our tip of the cap goes to Iwakuma, who teaches us there’s always perfection in proving you belong with the big boys after all.
Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.

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