There is perhaps no greater honor a team can bestow upon a player than to immortalize them with their very own bobble head. Oh sure, Rolex watches, Player of the Month, Cy Young, Silver Slugger, and MVP trophies are great and all but they do not hold a candle to seeing a small figurine with an enlarged head bobbing up and down to bring a player joy.
Some players wait an entire career hoping, no praying, that the team will select them as one of the bobble head stadium giveaways. Other players see their dreams materialize early in their careers when they are awarded a bobble head.
Each season my family and I eagerly await the release of the Arizona Diamondbacks promotional schedule to see who those lucky players will be that will have a bobble head day. The tradition of Arizona Diamondbacks bobble heads began in 2001 when the team introduced their fan base to these popular giveaways.
I remember standing in line for hours waiting for the gates to the Bank One Ballpark open and allow us to receive a Tony Womack, Mark Grace, Matt Williams, Luis Gonzalez, and my favorite Randy Johnson bobbing head doll. There were hours in line nervously counting how many people were ahead of my wondering whether I was among the first 15,000 to line up.
Through the years I have been fortunate enough to be able to collect all of the Diamondbacks stadium giveaway bobble heads except Shawn Green and Troy Glaus mini-bobble heads in 2005 which were only available to kid’s club members. This year despite being out of town for J.J. Putz bobble head day I was still able to get one thanks to great friends.
The J.J. Putz bobble head was carefully removed from its box and placed on my desk taking a spot of honor next to the other bobble heads in my collect. Looking over all of the bobbing heads I felt a sense of relief knowing my collection was nearly complete at least until June 23rd when the Ian Kennedy bobble head would be released. Life was good.
During a recent Diamondbacks road trip, Arizona pitcher Brad Ziegler spent his day off touring the Panini headquarters in Arlington Texas. While he was there he asked the company if he could get a few packets of Justin Bieber trading cards for teammate J.J. Putz who is a big fan of the pop singer.
Perhaps “big fan” may have been stretching the truth. There is some confusion about how much of a Bieber fans Putz is but according to Ziegler he is and for this story we will go with that assessment. Ziegler brought the card packets back to the Diamondbacks clubhouse where several of the pitchers huddled around to see what glorious bounty they would uncover.
In one of the packets Putz opened he found an autographed card of the pop singer. There are autographed cards placed in a few packages of the cards and it just so happened Putz got one. Ziegler took a picture of his teammate and posted it to Twitter showing everyone how excited J.J. was for finding this rare card.
The photo of Putz with the card went viral and quickly became a topic of conversation not just in the locker room but also with the press. Putz was surprised at how interested everyone was in his Bieber fandom. In the end, Putz gave the autographed card to fellow relievers Ziegler and Craig Breslow to put up for auction with the proceeds going to charity.
That is where I thought the story would end but I was mistaken. There is a much more sinister part of this story that I had no idea would affect me. A day after the story broke about the Bieber card auction I arrived home to find my J.J. Putz bobble head still sitting on top of the desk where it had been so carefully placed when I unboxed it.
During the initial placement I had looked over the bobble head inspecting it and admiring the detail the artist went through to capture Putz’s likeness. It was perfect. Today though the bobble head was not perfect by any means.
The Putz bobble head was slightly amiss and by slightly amiss I mean completely amiss. The victory fist was there as was the confident stride Putz shows when walking off the mound after a save. The problem was the head was missing!
I stood there staring at a decapitated J.J. Putz bobble head in complete shock. I quickly scanned the surrounding area and found J.J.’s head. I carefully picked it up and examined it. There were no signs of foul play or any damage; the head had simply popped off.
Never in all of my years of bobble head collecting had I ever seen the head just pop off. After a thorough examination I cleaned the areas of head and neck and reattached the head making sure everything was right. The last thing I needed was for J.J.’s head to be backwards like some sort of Exorcist reincarnation.
I don’t mind telling you I was pretty freaked out. How would you feel if you wanted into your living room and one of your kid’s heads had popped off and was lying on the ground? Ok, for those parents of teenagers you probably think that is a daily occurrence but that’s metaphorically not literal.
After getting my heart rate back under control as a result of emergency bobble head surgery I thought everything would be back to normal or as normal as things get around our house. The next day though I returned home to find J.J.’s head again lying on the ground. It was really starting to freak me out. Another round of surgery this time with much stronger glue would hopefully solve this problem once and for all.
I also installed surveillance cameras around my desk in the off chance that this was an inside job where someone just didn’t like the Diamondbacks closer. The next day I returned home once again to find J.J.’s head lying on the ground on a pillow. The pillow was my idea. I figured if you are going to lose your head you probably are going to want it to land on something soft.
A quick view of the surveillance cameras showed no one in the room and that the head just fell off. Obviously there were forces more powerful than human comprehension that was causing J.J. to lose his head.
At this point I am at a loss. The only logical explanation that I can come up with is that J.J. Putz has angered the baseball gods by proclaiming his love for Justin Bieber. What we have here is the “Bieber Curse”.
I haven’t been around many curses so I can’t yet gauge how strong this one is. I’m hoping that it’s not as strong as the “Curse of the Bambino” or worse the “Curse of the Billy Goat” that has kept the Chicago Cubs out of the World Series since 1945. It is somewhat ironic that all of this is happening the week the Diamondbacks are playing the Chicago Cubs.
In the meantime I have quarantined the Putz bobble head. There is really no way of telling whether the “Bieber Curse” is contagious and I just can’t take that chance. During the next Diamondbacks road trip I will have to begin the exhaustive search of how to reverse this curse. For now I can only wait and hope that one day my J.J. Putz bobble head can be restored to its pre-curse state. Oh and I am not going anywhere near that Bieber guy he has some pretty bad voodoo from what I can see.