The mantra is purr now, play later at first ‘Paw Star Game’

Cape Breton Post - - CLASSIFIEDS/LIFESTYLES - BY SUE MAN­NING LOS AN­GE­LES

There’s no me­ow­ing in base­ball - un­til now.

Joe DiMe­ow­gio, Darryl Paw­berry, Jose Cat­seco and other fe­line play­ers will take the field for Hall­mark Chan­nel’s first “Paw Star Game” on Sun­day, two days be­fore Ma­jor League Base­ball’s an­nual All-Star Game.

Cats are mak­ing strides in their duel against dogs for favourite pet, with pop­u­lar online videos, events such as CatConLA and new en­ter­tain­ment op­tions for fe­line fans.

With the “Paw Star Game,” Hall­mark Chan­nel ex­panded its kitty ac­com­pa­ni­ments to ma­jor sports events. In the vein of its Su­per Bowl coun­ter­part, the Kit­ten Bowl, cats won’t play base­ball so much as romp across a tiny diamond or take a snooze on first base.

A kit­ten some­times comes to the plate and paws at a ping­pong ball plopped on a tiny tee, tak­ing aim at the minia­ture fences and crowds of pa­per peo­ple. The field­ers may eye­ball the orb as it zooms by or pounce on it, but base run­ners are easily dis­tracted by other cats.

New York Yan­kees ra­dio an­nouncer John Ster­ling and sports com­men­ta­tor Mary Car­illo will call each “purr-fect” play. Dur­ing prac­tice rounds be­fore game day, they com­mented on “Cat Cen­ter” that play­ers were catch­ing zzz’s in­stead of base­balls and showed high­lights of kit­ties sniff­ing, scratch­ing and oc­ca­sion­ally leap­ing for a ball.

Celebri­ties will also stop by, in­clud­ing ac­tor Ed As­ner, news­caster Al Roker, and TV hosts Maria Menounos and Mario Lopez.

While fun, the event also helped more than 90 kit­tens get adopted from two New York shel­ters dur­ing film­ing there last year.

Hall­mark soon will take its cat­cen­tric sports events to the next level with the “Kit­ten Sum­mer Games,” a se­ries of “catletic” feats co­in­cid­ing with the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics.

The show still is be­ing planned, but much like the oth­ers, it will re­quire cre­ative stage­hands and cam­era crews to urge kit­tens to play around in small gyms, a minia­ture pool and mini tracks.

“Kit­tens are ex­tremely ver­sa­tile and multi-tal­ented an­i­mals who can easily ad­just to any form of play,” said Bill Ab­bott, pres­i­dent and CEO of Crown Media Fam­ily Net­works, Hall­mark’s par­ent com­pany.

AP PHOTO

This Oc­to­ber 2014 photo pro­vided by Crown Media shows Fluffy Frisky, at Paw Star Sta­dium in New York. The kit­tens of sum­mer will take the field for the world pre­miere of Hall­mark’s "Paw Star Game" on Sun­day, three days be­fore the boys of sum­mer hold their an­nual clas­sic. More than 90 kit­tens from a pair of New York shel­ters, North Shore An­i­mal League Amer­ica and Last Hope An­i­mal Res­cue and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, were adopted dur­ing tap­ing.

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