Since my birth 64 years ago today at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, just 3 miles from Fenway Park, I was destined to be a Red Sox fan.

It’s in my genes by way of a grandfather named Michael J. O’Brien who raised his family first on Mission Hill and later on Jamaica Plain’s Arborway – all the while serving proudly as a detective with the Boston Police Department.

It propelled me through Little League, when I decided third base was the place to be because eight-time all-star Frank Malzone, one of the few bright lights at Fenway during the 1960s, played the hot corner and actually lived in my hometown of Needham, thank you very much.

It kept me coming back in high school, when I’d make a beeline for the T’s Green Line whenever the father of one of my best friends generously forked over his season tickets and told us to go nuts, but not too nuts.

And then in college, when a buddy and I drove all the way from Amherst late one June afternoon and arrived in the bleachers just in time to see Rick Burleson, Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk and George “Boomer” Scott all hit home runs in the first inning. Against Catfish Hunter and the Yankees, no less!

So, imagine my delight this week when my dear wife called from work and said, “I’m planning something for your birthday. Don’t schedule anything after 1 p.m. on Thursday.”

Two things about that made me chuckle.

The first was the scheduling part. Since ongoing cancer treatment forced me to step back from my daily duties last month and instead focus once again on staying alive, my “schedule” has consisted largely of medical appointments, grappling with treatment’s side effects and losing way too many mindless games of solitaire on my iPhone. I know, it can make you crazy.

The second half of my bemusement was my wife’s sincere attempt to block off half an entire day – on the same date the Sox return from a six-game road trip – without spilling the beans on where we were going.

“We’re going to see the Sox, aren’t we?” I finally asked her Tuesday evening just before the game started.

“We’re going to … Boston,” she replied, a pained look on her face.

Finally, she caved. We’re going to Fenway.

Can there be any better therapy?

Throughout my three-plus years with melanoma, I’ve discovered repeatedly that the sicker I get from the illness or the treatment, the harder it becomes to stay tuned to a world gone berserk.

President Trump and his war on reality, Gov. Paul LePage and his vow to go to jail (be still my beating heart) before he’ll extend health coverage to struggling Mainers – it all devolves from deeply troubling to beyond absurd the more one pauses to contemplate the true meaning of life. Closely tracking the nonstop news feed, as a guy like me normally does, becomes a form of self-torture.

Not so with the Red Sox.

Did you know that this year’s team is on pace to win somewhere around 112 of its 162 games and thus become the most successful team in Red Sox history?

It will be only the third squad in the franchise’s 118 years to win more than 100 games in a season – hail to the Red Sox of 1946, who posted 104 victories, and 1915, who won 101 games much to the delight of my then 16-year-old grandfather.

I’ve watched these guys obsessively this year, start to finish, almost every game. At times, I admit, I wonder if I’m hallucinating.

It’s not just the fact that the Red Sox, prior to Wednesday night’s game with the Orioles, led the major leagues in runs scored, hits, doubles, total bases, runs batted in, team batting average and OPS – that newfangled stat that somehow combines on-base percentage with slugging average and, fair warning, leaves any curious fan over 60 with a migraine.

It’s also their pitching – witness Chris Sale spanking the Yankees in the Bronx back on June 30 with 11 strikeouts and seven scoreless innings on route to Boston’s 11-0 shutout, or closer Craig Kimbrel’s primal scream three days earlier as he walked off Fenway’s mound after striking out the Angels’ Luis Valbuena with the bases loaded.

And defense? Did you see Jackie Bradley Jr. calmly chase down a late-game blast to center field against the Orioles on Monday night, turning extra bases into an out with a perfectly timed backhand leap only feet from the wall?

Made me think of Carl Yastrzemski and the Impossible Dream team back in 1967. And I’m proud to say I whooped just as loudly this time as I did back when I’d just turned 14.

I’m not suggesting that this is the best Red Sox team ever. That honor will forever reside with the 2004 heroes who, three games down to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, went on to win four straight and then swept the St. Louis Cardinals for Boston’s first World Series championship in 86 years.

Still, these guys are beyond great. They clearly are, at this point in time, the best in baseball.

Watching them all these nights has taught me, once again, that our world is what we choose to make it – all gloom and doom, all smiles and denial, or somewhere in between.

So, on this day, I will choose to ignore our pseudo-president, our fast-deflating governor and all the world’s other woes if only long enough to remember that life is too short, that failing to find time for its blessings is, in its own sad way, an abject surrender.

One of those blessings, since the day I was born, has been to emerge from the runway at Fenway Park and go breathless at its beauty, just as I did the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that …

Hold all my calls. With thanks to the best wife ever, I’ll be at the ballgame.

Bill Nemitz can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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