McNeil makes push for puppy with 3-run blast

July 27th, 2019

NEW YORK -- During Mets batting practice Friday, representatives from the North Shore Animal League set up a pen near the Mets’ dugout to house a group of puppies up for adoption. The Long Island-based rescue and adoption organization does this every year to raise awareness for puppies seeking a home.

When Jeff McNeil wandered over to meet the dogs, he became so smitten with one that he grabbed his cell phone and started a video chat with his wife, Tatiana, asking her if she would be willing to add a third member to their household.

“She’s really smart!” McNeil pleaded to his wife, knowing that she would be responsible for tending to the pooch when the Mets go on the road.

A few hours later, McNeil hit a three-run homer in the Mets’ 6-3 win over the Pirates, which he believes will help his cause.

“Hitting a home run after holding a puppy, I think it gives me a little bargaining chip,” McNeil said. “If my wife wants more homers, then we have to get a puppy.”

In fairness, McNeil has 10 home runs this season, the previous nine coming with no puppies in sight. He also has a National League-leading .340 average, 27 doubles and 44 RBIs -- but in his eyes, none of that makes up for the lack of a cuddly pet. That could change Saturday; McNeil scheduled a follow-up with the North Shore Animal League to meet the puppy again.

If he hits another home run, Tatiana McNeil may not have much of a choice.

“I got in the dugout and said, ‘We’re getting a puppy,’” McNeil said. “Yeah, I was pretty happy. How could you not be happy with a puppy in your hands?”