NEW YORK -- Adam Duvall is in the Mets’ doghouse.
When Duvall hit an opposite-field homer off Steven Matz in the second inning of Saturday's 5-3 Braves win, the ball struck a cardboard cutout of Jeff McNeil’s dog, Willow, in the right-field seats. Mere hours earlier, the Mets had installed cutouts of Willow McNeil and Michael Conforto’s two dogs, Kali and Griffey. The pooches held spots of honor by themselves in right, away from the other cutouts scattered across the dugout.
For this game of fetch, they didn’t need to move. Duvall’s homer struck Willow squarely, coming to rest in the seat below until a stadium worker came to remove it.
The unfortunate blast took place almost a year to the day after McNeil and his wife adopted Willow from an annual North Shore Animal League event at Citi Field. After taking time out of batting practice to play with the puppy, McNeil FaceTimed his wife on the spot to try to get her blessing. That night, McNeil homered, and insisted it was because of Willow.
“It’s not about me,” McNeil said. “It’s all about the puppy.”