It doesn’t feel like baseball season, at least not in my corner of the world. There’s still at least a foot of snow on my lawn, a gift from back-to-back March nor’easters. We all know these late winter storms are quite common, but we also don’t need to be reminded of that every time we see highlights from spring training on television.

Major League Baseball teams will break camp and start playing games for keeps this week, so winter’s grip is loosening.

For Boston Red Sox fans, there are reasons to be excited. Slugger JD Martinez slides into the middle of the lineup. Ace Chris Sale is in his second season at the top of the rotation. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts has recovered from the wrist injury that hampered his swing throughout last season, and left fielder Andrew Benintendi has a full season of big league experience.

As important as all that is to the Red Sox potential in 2018, one thing looms over the season and has me looking forward to this summer more than any baseball season in recent memory.

This feels like it’s going to be an old-fashioned summer of hate between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

I’m talking about neck and neck in the standings for weeks at a time. Close games that make us all stay up way past our bedtimes so as not to miss late inning drama. I’m talking about rising blood pressure at the sight of pinstripes, and the song “Dirty Water” being banned from play in New York, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut.

I’m talking visceral, antagonistic hostility. Irrational contempt. You know, baseball.

When the Yankees added Giancarlo Stanton to an already strong lineup, it kicked up the rivalry a notch. Stanton is a tall tale brought to life, swinging a bat like Paul Bunyan swings an ax. Put him in a lineup surrounded by Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and others, and suddenly Boston fans are eying David Price and Rick Porcello to see if both can rebound from injury and a down 2017.

The Red Sox made their move in the power bat arms race by signing Martinez. Throwing Martinez, who hit 45 home runs last season, into the lineup behind Bogaerts and Mookie Betts gives Boston a lineup that can and should score a lot of runs. On paper, the Yankees have a juggernaut offense, but the Red Sox aren’t far behind. Give the Red Sox starting rotation an edge, even with question marks at the back end, if only because Sale is at the top.

Last year, both teams made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. That’s only eight years, a blip in real time. In baseball rivalry time, that’s an eon. Consider the first 15 seasons of the wild card era, which began in 1995. In those 15 seasons, the Red Sox and Yankees both made the playoffs eight times. The American League Championship Series in 2003 and 2004 are two of the best series in baseball history. With both teams expected to contend in the American League this season, even the possibility of another playoff series should light a spark under each fan base.

With the wild card, we will never get another pennant race like 1978 again, but we can still get an exciting summer as the teams fight to stay out of the one-game wild card game.

I want Sale to brush back Stanton. I want Sonny Gray to brush back Martinez. I want a summer full of hard slides and whatever home plate collisions Major League Baseball’s rules regarding such things will allow. I want the Red Sox and Yankees to run away and hide from the other three teams in the American League East. I want every Red Sox-Yankees game to be an event. Thinking about it makes the snow melt faster.

The first Red Sox-Yankees game of the season is scheduled for April 10 at Fenway Park. The last Red Sox-Yankees game of the regular season is set for Sept. 30, also at Fenway Park. Hopefully, that day decides the division. Top of the ninth, Sox up a run, two on, two out, and Judge steps into the box to face Boston closer Craig Kimbrel…

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM