I can't speak to ever having been a hard-core Mets fan. I hopped on the bandwagon in the mid-'80s, and then I bailed when things turned sour in the early '90s. And my fan days died shortly after that.

Perhaps that's why Mets fans fascinate me so much. You are gluttons for punishment. You embrace hard times, even as you loathe them. I admire your loyalty and dedication, even those of you who swear that David Wright isn't clutch.

Sitting at last night's game, and writing about the good and bad behind Ike Davis' promotion, it struck me what an odd eight percent of the season it has been for the Mets so far. I think that, in some ways, the results have been more frustrating than the process, which is sort of good.

And yet in other ways, it has been the Same Old Mets, taking the little chicken salad they have and turning it into...something less appetizing.

So, in honor of the old "He loves me, he loves me not" game, let's pick away together at an imaginary, collective oxeye daisy and discuss the positives and negatives of this young Mets season.

You love the Mets because, after last night, they have a positive run differential, 54-50. That gives them a Pythagorean record of 7-6. Only one of their eight losses has come by more than three runs. They have been in games.

You love the Mets not because, thanks to questionable fundamentals, bad managing and general Mets-iness, there's little reason to think the Mets will live up to their run differential. The last time the Mets outperformed their Pythagorean record was 2007.

There's also the reality that the season is very young, so it's hard to read too much into runs scored and runs allowed, anyway.

You love the Mets because it's simply impossible to make fun of their farm system at the moment. The quick rises of Davis and Jenrry Mejia, with Jon Niese continuing to display promise, shows how suddenly teams' development programs can rise and fall.

You love the Mets not because Mejia, even though he hasn't been overmatched in relief, should be starting in the minor leagues. And because you're understandably concerned that, with their number seven overall pick in this year's amateur draft - the fruit of last year's labor - the Mets will honor ally Bud Selig once more and not pay dramatically over slot.

You love the Mets because their pitching has been surprisingly good. They have a 3.50 ERA,  4.46 for the starters and 2.19 for the relievers. Mike Pelfrey's rebound has to be a huge relief to you, and Ryota Igarashi and Hisanori Takahashi both appear, so far, to be positive, low-risk signings. And if Kelvim Esocbar returns at any juncture - even if it's the second half - he can still justify his low-risk signing.

You love the Mets not because John Maine has pretty much jumped the shark, and because you know Oliver Perez is still going to be, well, inconsistent at best. And because there's virtually no depth behind those guys. And because you know that, if Manuel manages to stick around, he'll manage to wear down some of those bullpen arms.

You love the Mets because Jeff Francoeur ranks second on the team with eight walks and really, you couldn't have asked for much more from the guy since he joined the team last year.

You love the Mets not because the Mike Jacobs Experiment convinces you that the talent evaluators still shun basic statistic analysis. That it's not like the Mets saw something on Francoeur that no one else could. And let's see what Francoeur's numbers look like at year's end. And don't even get me started on Gary Matthews Jr.

You love the Mets because they're not the Yankees. Because they don't just shoot their way out of trouble. Because 1969 and 1986, for those of you old enough, prove that good things come to those who wait.

You love the Mets not because right now, Jose Reyes is playing as if he's old enough to remember the '69 Series. As if he took his grandkids to Game 5.

--Javier Vazquez tries again tonight, in Oakland. What interested me most, in this story by Arthur Staple, was where Vazquez credits his participation in last year's World Baseball Classic for his strong start with the Braves. Derek Jeter, it should be noted, had excellent 2006 and 2009 seasons after competing in the WBC.

Teachable moment: The WBC can be used for good by the players smart enough to do so. The problem is, many players - it really would be untoward of me to name any names - aren't smart enough to do so, and, unsupervised by their employers, they veer off the track. Which is why the event frustrates teams so much.

--Live chat at noon. In honor of Davis, I woke up at 6 this morning in Buffalo and started to get ready for a live chat up there when, 40 minutes prior to the first question, my boss (that boss? Maybe. I am making this up, after all)  ordered me to fly to New York for a live chat. I'm tired, but excited for this big moment.







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