For some teams, a relationship with the fans can be strictly based on winning games.
Other teams are more defined by the character of the team.
Very good teams maintain a balance between these two aspects, creating an organized team that may come across as very likable.
If the Mets can build off of their potential feast on weakling road teams like the Orioles and Indians, this team could be well on their way to achieving a strong balance between the ability to win and the ability to maintain excellent character.
Pleasing the Mets faithful is tough but a balance between gameday performance and personality will always win the fans over every time.
There are plenty of specific examples of what may make this current Mets team attractive to Mets fans.
For starters, the players that do not belong in the spotlight have no part of it, for the moment at least.
With Oliver Perez and John Maine on the disabled list, the Mets rotation has blossomed with consistency from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, solid pitching from young lefty Jon Niese, and even a couple of quality starts from Hisenori Takahashi.
There are also those Mets fans that are more satisfied without second basemen Luis Castillo in the lineup.
It may be for the best in some respects because 20-year-old rookie Ruben Tejada is getting more regular action on the big league roster.
Speaking of Tejada, the likability of a team can stem from the integration of highly-touted rookies.
Guys like Tejada, first basemen Ike Davis, and reliever Jenrry Mejia represent just that.
Ike Davis is a perfect example. Whenever he stands in at the plate, he maintains an air of maturity. He isn’t just a rookie at bat, he’s a major leaguer. For that, the fans love him, and his power potential.
Mets fans are seeing some of the players they want to see take the field—that is an easy way to win over a fan base and quell the booing crowds.
The Mets also have big name players.
There are the high profile names of homegrown talents in David Wright and Jose Reyes, in addition to added talents like Jason Bay and Johan Santana.
The homegrown players are the guys that Mets fans have a special bond with, and Reyes and Wright in particular have turned up the dial on their performance recently.
Wright has already eclipsed his 2009 Home Run total and Reyes definitely seems to have his swing back, driving the ball and slapping line drives into right field.
There are also the names that just stick out.
It is nearly impossible for the name of R.A. Dickey to not be memorable in the minds of Mets fans.
Dickey has exceeded expectations that probably did not even exist before he went out for his first of five starts to this point as a Met.
Chris “Animal” Carter adds a more youthful and less recognizable punch off the bench and many Mets fans have gotten into the habit of referring to starter Mike Pelfrey as “Big Pelf.”
Many entertaining teams have that sort of gimmicky aspect to them and right now,
on every fifth day, the Mets have a rare one. R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball has been effective through five starts as he has posted a 4-0 record and 2.78 ERA.
The Mets certainly have plenty of the “good guys” in baseball too.
Jeff Francoeur is an example.
He loves the city he is playing in and it is noticeable in how he conducts himself in interviews as well as how he always has a smile on his face. It helps his case that he has lifted his batting average out of the doldrums too.
To top it all off, the Mets are getting outstanding All-Star caliber performances out of both their pitching staff and lineup.
Mike Pelfrey, heading into today’s start against Kevin Millwood and the Orioles, is 8-1 in 12 starts with 2.23 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He’s getting more attention, and it is becoming clear why the Mets drafted him in the first round in 2005.
Even free agent product Rod Barajas is putting up All-Star numbers as the Mets catcher.
Barajas has more home runs than any catcher in baseball with 11 and has kept his batting average above .250 in 50 games played—something he rarely does.
Plenty of positive individual performances have Mets fans crazy about their standout players.
Team effort and cohesion can channel this energy into more wins.
Combine all these aspects of what the Mets have going on right now and toss in some more home runs from Jason Bay, who is still hitting well otherwise, and the Mets have a that likable, lovable roster that the fans can easily develop a bond with, and the players feed off the energy.
The bottom line right now is that the Mets are exceeding expectations with the players and an unlikely supporting cast the fans have grown to love .
The Mets are developing a winning mentality to make a run and take advantage of their struggling division rivals while exhibiting a positive energy.
And, most importantly, they are fun to watch.