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John Sterling to call Kitten Bowl

John Sterling will do play-by-play for the Kitten

John Sterling will do play-by-play for the Kitten Bowl airing on the Hallmark Channel on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. Credit: Crown Media

John Sterling, the voice of the Yankees, will doing some play-by-play work on Super Bowl Sunday.

Of the Kitten Bowl.

"You know, I've done years of general talk shows, obviously sports talk shows for many years at WMCA," Sterling said by phone. "I've done football, basketball, hockey and baseball games. And when I began as a kid, I did disc jockey and news like everyone else.

"But I've never done anything like this before."

If it sounds like an odd pairing - Sterling describing kittens pawing and trouncing around on a football field - you're not the only one who feels that way. Sterling acknowledged this gig isn't exactly the logical next step in the career of a sports play-by-play man.

He said it came about because a friend of his, Hallmark CEO Bill Abbott, approached him over the summer and asked him take part in this new event, and Sterling said yes.

"I don't think my career is going to be influenced one way or the other with what happens in the Kitten Bowl," Sterling said with his hearty laugh. "Back in the old WMCA days I broadcast a women's football game, it was on the Island, but no, this is so terribly different."

The "game" has already been taped, having taking place in a Manhattan studio late last year. Sterling said he and his analyst Renee Herlocker spent five hours trying their best to describe what the kittens were doing on the field with some football lexicon.

"We were Joe Buck and Troy Aikman," said Sterling, who's getting ready for his 26th season as the Yankees' radio voice. "You could say, 'Well, John, what do you do? Do you call a real football game?' Oh, we do football things, we gave the cats a lot of football names."

"It really is kind of funny because the cats - well, the kittens, because they weren't cats, they're kittens - so they would be jumping up on the goal posts and they would be jumping up on the stands. And they had toys with them to play with."

Sterling said the three-hour Kitten Bowl is scheduled to air three times on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday, including opposite the Super Bowl. And if you're at least a tad interested in what Sterling describing kittens playing football will sound like, you're not alone.

Sterling hasn't seen the final product yet and admittedly doesn't know what to expect.

"It's already done, so there's nothing I can I do to change it," Sterling said. "But I guess I'm very relaxed about it because I don't think it can affect my career - good, bad or indifferent.

"I don't think there's going to be people saying, 'Oh, boy, look at the way he does the Kitten Bowl! He's got to do more of that! Well, there is no more of that!"

New York Sports