Relievers auctioning Bieber card for charity

Relievers auctioning Bieber card for charity

Relievers auctioning Bieber card for charity
PHOENIX -- Bieber fever has infected the D-backs clubhouse after what began as a practical joke last week is now becoming a way for three Arizona relievers to help raise money for charity.

While in Texas for a three-game series with the Rangers, D-backs pitcher Brad Ziegler picked up two boxes of Justin Bieber trading cards at the Panini company's headquarters in Dallas.

Ziegler gave the cards to closer J.J. Putz, who promptly opened the packs to discover a rare card signed by the teen pop sensation. Ziegler snapped a picture of Putz holding the card with a childlike grin and tweeted it out to all his followers.

That yielded a national response and even an appearance for Putz on TMZ's television program.

Now a week later, Ziegler, Putz and fellow reliever Craig Breslow are auctioning off the autographed card, reportedly worth thousands, to benefit Breslow's Strike 3 Foundation and Ziegler's Pastime for Patriots.

"It started out with [Ziegler] having a little fun at my expense that I enjoy Bieber's music and now we decided to raise money for two outstanding causes," Putz said Tuesday. "Hopefully we can help out a lot of people."

The pitching trio and the Diamondbacks Foundation also will be matching the winning bid for the card up to $2,500.

"Collectively, we're grateful for J.J.'s generosity, it was pretty fortuitous for him to pull that card," Breslow said. "A lot more good will be done for our charities than what would be done if he hung on to it and did whatever middle-aged men do with Justin Bieber cards."

Bieber is scheduled to perform in Phoenix on Sept. 29, and the D-backs players are hoping they can convince the singer to make a visit to Chase Field while in town.

"We would love to invite him out here and come throw the first pitch," Putz said. "I know I'll be at his concert anyways."

The auction went live on early Tuesday afternoon and by 6 p.m. MST the highest bid already had surpassed $500. The auction will end July 2.

"In all seriousness I want to thank J.J. and the D-backs for getting behind us," Breslow said. "These are two causes that are important us. The finances we get are great but the awareness is better."

Whatever the end result of the Bieber explosion in the D-backs clubhouse may be, it appears the singer will be following Putz for a while. While pitching in the ninth inning Monday, Bieber's song, "Baby" played after the closer recorded each out.