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Cardboard cutouts of Mets' dogs fetch home run ball

Cardboard cutouts of Kali Conforto, Griffey Conforto and

Cardboard cutouts of Kali Conforto, Griffey Conforto and Willow McNeil, the dogs of Mets players Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil, are seen in the stands at Citi Field. Credit: New York Mets

Things got a little ruff during the Mets’ game against the Braves on Saturday.

Among the new cutouts in the stands at Citi Field are a trio of dogs in rightfield: Jeff McNeil’s Willow and Michael Conforto’s Griffey and Kali.

They earned camera time early Saturday, and not because they’re cute.

Don’t tell PETA, but in the second inning, shortly after the cutouts were positioned side by side in the second row, Atlanta’s Adam Duvall drove a Steven Matz curveball deep to right — and it absolutely drilled the Willow cutout.

She appeared no worse for the wear after the direct hit. A Mets employee retrieved the ball.

Willow is perhaps the most famous of the Mets’ dogs. McNeil met her on the field — one year ago Sunday — during a North Shore Animal League America promotion before a game. He FaceTimed his wife, Tatiana, during batting practice to ask if they could adopt her. McNeil homered that night and said if he got the puppy that he would homer more. “Puppy power,” he called it. The goings-on Sunday were not what he meant.

Without fans in attendance, the Mets are selling cardboard cutouts to put in the seats instead. They cost $86 each (but are free for season-ticket holders who renew their package for 2021). As the cutouts started to be installed toward the end of camp, they caught the eyes of Mets players, some of whom thought it would be funny to pay to have embarrassing photos of each other blown up and put in the stands.

McNeil and Conforto, it seems, settled for a little puppy company.

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