In Fort Myers Florida, so called “Bieber fever” has struck a Class-A Advanced minor league ball club. The Fort Myers Miracle baseball team, a Minnesota Twins affiliate, has seen their bullpen inherit a rather peculiar ritual involving 17-year-old singing sensation Justin Bieber. As a form of punishment, any relief pitcher who gives up a home run has to don a flamboyant Justin Bieber backpack to and from games until the next relief pitcher gives up a homer.
The practice is unusual and out of the ordinary but develops solid team chemistry according to pitching coach Steve Mintz who claimed, “It’s something that keeps the guys laughing and together. I don’t think anybody’s pulling for anybody to give up a home run. Like I told Pugh, I hope he’s the last guy to carry the backpack this season.”
We’ve seen athletes in the past play Bieber’s music before an at-bat or mimic his trendy hair style, but never rock his gear in humiliation. The backpack was brought in by relief pitcher Blake Martin. “I went to Target the day before the season started,” Martin said. “I was looking for a backpack. I saw Justin Bieber and decided to get it.”
The unusual antic certainly provides an added incentive to pitch well and, if you’re a Fort Myers Miracle player, how could you complain? Unless, of course, you give up a homer and the rest of the staff becomes lights out. That would suck a little.
Photo Courtesy Fort Myers Miracle via Fox Sports Florida