U.S. News

05.17.14

Here’s How Our Hero Cat Will ‘Throw’ the First Pitch

A minor-league assistant GM’s Internet Age dilemma: “We now have three days to get this cat to throw a baseball, which might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever said.”

As of Tuesday, the 2016 presidential race has been turned on its head by the emergence of a new face in leadership, one sorely needed in these dark and dismal times: Tara the Hero Cat.

This may be overstating the case slightly, but this nation has very rightly lost its collective mind over the courage, quick-thinking, and principled stand Tara the Hero Cat displayed in defending her 4-year-old owner, Jeremy Triantafilo, from a dog attack:

Since this happened Tuesday afternoon, Tara has been featured on Good Morning America and the Today show, blew up Reddit, and even has been invited to throw out the first pitch for the Bakersfield Blaze, because if there’s anything a cat longs for, it’s the bustling energy of a minor-league baseball game. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime for Tara!

“Originally, Jeremy was going to throw out the first pitch and Tara was going to be on hand, but now the Internet has decided that Tara’s going to throw out the first pitch,” said Philip Guiry, the assistant general manager of the Southern California team. “And the Internet never lies; it’s like the George Washington of information superhighways.”

Obviously, this poses a pretty serious logistical challenge for the team.

“I don’t know how it got to be that the cat was throwing out the first pitch. It’s an absolutely crazy assumption, because cats don’t have opposable thumbs. They can’t throw balls,” Guiry reasonably said, but added that the team is looking into various solutions ahead of Tuesday’s game. They are still not 100 percent sure on how it’s going to happen, but possibilities include, but are not limited to, pitching machines, a soapbox derby-style ramp and “giving out 2,000 laser pointers.”

“I’ve done [this sort of thing] once before, in Idaho. We had Darth Vader throw out the first pitch using the Force,” he said.

Cats don’t typically have the serenity to take a minor-league game in stride; most of them can’t take a spoon falling off the counter in stride. Guiry said they are looking into getting a rosin bag of catnip for the pitching mound, with the idea of getting Tara nice and relaxed. But still, there are concerns.

“The last time Bakersfield was in the news for an animal at a sporting event, it was a condor at the Bakersfield Condors hockey game,” Guiry said. “It ended up freaking out and running away and doing condor things, so that did not go over too well. I mean, it went over great, but it didn’t go right.”

I asked about whether they were worried about the cat running away after he mentioned “the mean streets of Bakersfield.” No worries, he said: The Triantafilos are ON IT.

“I’ve done [this sort of thing] once before, in Idaho. We had Darth Vader throw out the first pitch using the Force.”

“They’re going to have the cat on a leash, which is always hilarious,” he said.

He said that the Tara-throwing-a-pitch thing has been a huge, huge boon to the Blaze, a team that doesn’t often field multiple national media inquiries in a given day.

“We do a lot of dumb stuff out here, and no one’s ever seemed to notice before, but then again, we’ve never done anything dumb with an Internet-sensation cat,” he said. “We didn’t really expect to get calls from The Daily Beast and Good Morning America, which has all happened in the past 24-48 hours. We now have three days to get this cat to throw a baseball, which might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever said.”

Of course, the Blaze is making sure the evening will be for a good cause: Anyone who brings unopened pet food or pet toys will get half off the price of the ticket, and The Cat People, a local cat-adoption organization, will have kitties who need homes there for any baseball fans who are looking to adopt.

After her pitch, Tara will most likely head “to a cat carrier in the front office.”

“But if she wants to watch the game, she’ll be more than welcome to watch the game; they have pretty prime seats on the third-base side, so she’ll have good seats. But I don’t know if cats like baseball,” Guiry said, adding that, as far as he knows, this is the first time a cat has ever thrown the first pitch.

“The closest you’re going to get is the Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch movie,” he said.

And will Tara’s relationship with the team continue? Perhaps she could even become the namesake of the team?

“Minor-league baseball already has the Montgomery Biscuits and the Richmond Flying Squirrels. There’s a lot of silly names out there,” he said. “We might call ourselves Tara the Terror Cats.”