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Big League Stew

J.J. Putz’s Justin Bieber card is up for auction

David Brown
Big League Stew

Justin Bieber fans, your chance has arrived to own a piece of Arizona Diamondbacks history. Or is it a chance for Arizona Diamondbacks fans to own a piece of Justin Bieber history? Whichever, it has arrived!

D-backs reliever J.J. Putz, who recently pulled a lucky trading card featuring Bieber's autograph, has decided to put Cardboard Biebs up for auction and donate the proceeds to teammates' charities. It ought to fetch a lot, given that a similar card with Bieber's signature went for $4,500 on eBay earlier this year.

This is all teammate Brad Ziegler's doing, as he recently visited Panini America headquarters in Dallas (where the cards are distributed) when the D-backs were in town to play the Texas Rangers. After Putz opened the magical pack, the entire clubhouse instantly caught "Bieber Fever" and Ziegler tweeted about Putz's find.

Though he has twin 7-year-old daughters and could give the card to them, Putz got a better idea — and the respective charities of teammates Ziegler and Craig Breslow should benefit. Said Putz in a statement:

"Given the way I obtained this card, I think the only responsible course is to donate it to charity. I have the chance to raise money and awareness for two important causes. Besides, convincing my twin girls I was better off taking them to Justin Bieber's Believe Tour kickoff concert on Sept. 29 in Phoenix rather than keeping the card, put me in the running for father of the year."

Well, he's taking them as long as Putz doesn't have to pitch that night (the next-to-last game of the regular season).

Putz had been trying to downplay his affection for Bieber, because some might find it strange that a jock in his mid-30s enjoys entertainment marketed to preteen girls. Putz even went so far as to call the cards a "joke" gift, and asserted "I'm not" a huge Bieber fan. But then he must have realized he was blowing a good public relations opportunity by protesting too much.

OK, I know what some of you are thinking. This story has gone from "charming, oddball coincidence" to "too good to be true." It was one thing that Putz just happened to pull a random and precious Bieber autographed card from some boxes that Panini employees just happened to hand one of his Twitter-happy teammates. But now, instead of giving his girls the card, Putz is taking them to a Bieber concert that just happens to kick off a tour starting ... in Phoenix, where perhaps the whole Putz clan could meet Justin Bieber and get another autograph.

We are to believe that these are just a series of coincidences? Somebody might have gotten played.

The good news is that this card can draw big bucks for Pastime for Patriots and the Strike 3 Foundation. Bid on it at www.dbacks.com/auctions through July 1. And remember, whenever you smile, they smile.

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