She's known for delivering body-blocks and roundhouse kicks, but Tara, the hero- ninja-wonder-cat, turned on her charm offensive to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Bakersfield Blaze Tuesday against the Lancaster JetHawks.
Tara -- who one week ago saved her family's eldest boy, 4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo, from being further bitten and dragged away by a neighbor's dog -- delivered the evening's second ceremonial first pitch.
Jeremy, who needed 10 stitches to close wounds in his left calf after the May 13 incident, threw out the game's actual ceremonial first pitch, from a kid-friendly plate distance of just a few feet.
The Blaze promptly answered the question everyone's been wondering, including members of The Condors' staff -- how can a cat throw a baseball? -- with a complex, semi-secret contraption involving a length of fishing line and a pulley or two.
Trouble was, it failed -- before a battery of media representing outlets from Russia to Brazil to Japan -- and stranded the baseball just a few feet from the cat's paw.
Blaze staffers quickly handed Tara's "dad," Roger Triantafilo, an untethered ball which he hurled to pitcher Ben Lively, who was sitting in as catcher.
"Best-laid plans. Gotta try, but that's all right," said Dan Besbris, the Blaze's assistant general manager in charge of media and marketing. "We got the cat. The cat seemed to be just fine, which is great."
This was the evening's other big question: How do you take a cat out to the old ballgame?
Followed by wife Erica with Jeremy by the hand, Triantafilo simply strode to the mound with Tara draped over his left arm. Tara wore a tiny coat with skulls and crossbones.
"She did everything I thought she would. She stayed calm throughout," Triantafilo said, answering questions in the media scrum apres-pitch for a Los Angeles-based reporter from Globo Network of Brazil. "We wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for her and we are lucky our son was able to throw the first pitch because of our cat, so thank you, Tara."
The script-flip story -- hard-charging former stray cat saves boy from dog -- has captivated media from Taiwan to Ireland and Australia to Ohio.
"Cat story? First time. It's everywhere, worldwide," said Valerly Lipkin, an L.A.-based cameraman for REN TV, one of Russia's largest private federal TV channels.
"The cat saved the boy, and I'm interested in the cat's first pitch," said Hideo Yoshiro, L.A. photographer for Tokyo Chunichi Sports network.
Fans felt the same way.
"It's awesome, having a local celebrity in our midst," joked Jerrold Yeager of Bakersfield, who sat with friends in left field.
"I'd like to see it throw a curveball, I'll tell you," joked David Tovar of McFarland.
Word of Tara's pitch brought Emmanuel Maldonado and daughter Kylie, 9, to their first Blaze game in about three years.
"Just to get out and see the cat, I thought would be interesting," Maldonado said.
"I want to see the cat," said Kylie, impatient at waiting for the pet to appear.
Tara can afford to make a bit of an entrance. One week later, the cat's popularity is such that she now has her own official website, taratheherocat.com, as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts.
"We just really want to teach people what we've learned from this experience. We just want them to know, wherever they are in life, they can achieve greatness," said Erica Triantafilo.
The family has hired a company to manage the video, in an effort to control its future exposure. Any profit will go into a college fund for Jeremy.
As for the Blaze, while the game hadn't sold out, it generated a buzz that reminded Besbris of the halcyon days of 2012, when fleet-footed Billy Hamilton stole 104 bases in 82 games -- only more so.
"Even when we had Billy Hamilton -- ," Besbris started to say.
Attention "was L.A.-based," said Philip Guiry, the team's assistant general manager in charge of operations.
Even the JetHawks were impressed.
"Most cats -- I don't like cats, but I respect that cat," said JetHawks pitcher Lance McCullers.
"That cat saved a life," said JetHawks pitcher Josh Hader.