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Mets' Lucas Duda, Michael Conforto and Travis d'Arnaud have California roots

The Mets' Lucas Duda celebrates his three-run home

The Mets' Lucas Duda celebrates his three-run home run to take a 5-1 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers with Travis d'Arnaud #15 during the third inning of a game at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 24, 2014 in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images / Harry How

LOS ANGELES - The Mets did some damage to the Dodgers with their 3-1 victory in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday night.

Before the game, Lucas Duda did some damage to Dodger Stadium. The Mets' hulking first baseman launched a batting-practice home run into deepest rightfield that crashed into a sign for the TV network "SportsNet LA" and obliterated the "R".

It no longer exists.

"Oh, no, no, no," Duda said after the game. "Didn't know about that. Sorry if I caused any damage."

Duda, who grew up in nearby Orange County, is one of several Mets with a fondness for Dodger Stadium. While Duda's first choice as a kid was to attend Angels games in Anaheim, he said his family went to Chavez Ravine "every once in a while. And I enjoyed listening to Vin Scully. Obviously a legend."

Duda, like many big-leaguers who grew up in Southern California, played in Dodger Stadium in a high school tournament.

Rookie outfielder Michael Conforto, who was born in Seattle, was set to start his first postseason game Saturday night. He also has been to Dodger Stadium before and remembered seeing a slugger who was a lot like Duda hit one far and gone.

"As a fan, when I was like 16," Conforto said. "We had a tournament in Southern California, travel ball in the summer. I remember watching Adam Dunn hit a homer over the rightfield foul pole. I love watching big power guys. I love the ballpark. It was a great game to go to."

A year ago, Conforto was visiting his old college program at Oregon State and watching the MLB playoffs with his former teammates and coaches after finishing his first professional season with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Now he's starting in leftfield in the NLDS.

"I think I was hoping that and that was my goal," Conforto said. "A lot of things had to happen in order for that to even be possible. But that was my goal. I wanted to get here as quickly as possible. I won't say it didn't cross my mind, watching those games and hoping I could be here as soon as possible."

A year ago, Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud was watching the playoffs, too -- as a fan at Dodger Stadium as Los Angeles took on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS.

"I was here," d'Arnaud said. "In the rightfield pavilion seats. I was crushing hot dogs."

D'Arnaud went to school in Lakewood, California, which is 23 miles south of Dodger Stadium. His favorite players were former Dodgers catchers Mike Piazza and Russell Martin.

"I tried to imitate them both defensively as much as I could," d'Arnaud said. "Especially Russell Martin with how he receives and everything. Obviously, with Piazza's bat, I just tried to play like him, too. I've seen it all here. Been in every parking lot, been in every section."

Now he's on the field. In his first postseason action.

"It's indescribable," he said. "Just honored that I'm able to play in the most prestigious month of the sport. Just very fortunate."

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