Me, to BF, Friday night: “I don’t understand why so many Mets fans are calling this series with the Braves a ‘must win.’ I mean, it’s April, right? And the Mets play 18 other teams besides this one.”

Me, to BF, Sunday afternoon: “I guess we’re back to being their beeitches again. Oh well, wild card teams can still win the pennant.”

Yeah, I did it too, so bite me.

Losing a rubber game that damn well should have been won, that would have been won if certain baseballs had been fielded cleanly and certain relief pitchers hadn’t forgotten where the plate was (I kept hearing Whitey Herzog grumbling, as he did in the classic Seasons in Hell when discussing his 1973 Texas Rangers bullpen, “It’s like they think they’ll get the clap if they throw strikes”), it revved up my Metsochistic tendencies big time.

They have something on us, I kept thinking. The Mets can’t help but choke when they play the Braves. Last year was some kind of insane fluke. And quickly it descended to: Carlos Delgado is finished. David Wright was just a flash-in-the-pan, the league has him figured out, he’s like Joe Charboneau or Steve Balboni or somebody like that, a couple of good years and then he falls off the face of the earth. People are going to look at that Madame Tussaud’s sculpture five years from now and go, “Who the hell is that?”

With fans like me, who needs Chipper Jones? Steve Balboni always sucked. Joe Charboneau had one good year, and it wasn’t even that good. I’m comparing David Wright — our doe-eyed prince, our King David, the man in whose innocent face and honeydipped bat all the hope in the universe lies — to them? What in the name of Bobby Valentine is wrong with me??

If the tables had been turned and the Mets had beaten the Braves four out of six, I’d be muttering all kinds of things like “it’s way early,” “unrepresentative sample,” and, “you’re not the same team in April that you are in September, and even some teams that stink up September still win in October.” I mean, not 48 hours ago I was saying without a trace of irony, “Fine, let the Braves put all their energy into beating the Mets, then they’ll probably go and get their butts kicked by the Marlins. Works for me.” So why did it stop working? When did I lose my head?

I don’t know. The Braves just didn’t look to me like they were ever going to get their butts kicked by the Marlins or anyone else. They looked like they could win it all, right there. On the other hand, Yankees fans might say the same right now about the Red Sox, whose lead over the Yanks is now four games, as opposed to the mere half game that separates the Mets and Braves.

Half a game! The Yankees would kill to be that close to the Red Sox now, wouldn’t they? And you’d be hard pressed to find a Yankees fan on the planet ready to give up on winning the division now, even with their team in third place. The Yankees won last year, so division champions they remain until someone officially dethrones them, which cannot take place for at least five more months, even if the Red Sox go 19-0 against them.

But Mets fans? Too many of us are unwilling to accept first place as our due, even as our team left all others in the dust by June last year. Can’t happen again, we say. The Braves still own first place, they just let us borrow it for a year because they got bored with losing in October all the time. But they missed losing in October, so now they’re back.

I mean, their uniform is such a talisman of staggering luck, they pulled Kelly Johnson out of their collective undershorts and sat back and watched him make blithering idiots out of our pitching staff today. Kelly Johnson? Kelly freaking Johnson? Is he next for immortalizing at Madame Tussaud’s? Are they going to melt down the David Wright statue and resculpt it into a Kelly Johnson likeness by this time next year? They’re about the same size, yes? Same skin tone and hair color, even? Or will Tussaud’s wait an extra year before immolating the Waxen Wright, just to be polite to David’s family?

No, chances are pretty good that this will not be the year David Wright finds out who really loves him as a person and who is merely infatuated with his honeydipped slugger. The latter will start to work again. It has to. He is a smart kid who will figure out a way to make it work, even if he turns out to be a hell of a lot more Tony Gwynn than Nate Colbert (and let’s hope, since Colbert was another one of those guys who scared the heck out of the league for about five years and then, doughnut). He doesn’t have to hit home runs, he just has to hit, period, and he will. I’m sure the Braves would take him in a minute — yes, even in an even-up swap for Kelly Johnson. After all, The David would be wearing The Lucky Laundry (TM), so how could he help but hit? I sometimes wonder if Bobby Cox himself doesn’t think about suiting up and putting himself in his own lineup, so very blessed is The Laundry. (The Yankees were in one of their fallow periods in Cox’s playing days, 1968-69, so their Laundry didn’t do much for him then.)

Unrepresentative sample, I mutter my new mantra, unrepresetantative sample, unrepresentative sample, unrepresentative sample. The only way out is through. Om mani padme hum.