I’m going to be honest: the last time the Yankees were a blip on my radar was the 2004 ALCS. Once we shook that monkey off our back, they’ve been like a lovable neighborhood punk who tries to shake you down for a quarter. A pain in the ass, but so goddam cute you give ’em the quarter anyway. And yes, even though New York has tasted the postseason eight times since then to Boston’s five, the three World Series titles we’ve won across the past 12 years have more than compensated for any inferiority complex that previously existed.

Put simply, these days, the sight of the Orioles or Jays gets me more fired up than the pinstripes.

Which is why it irks me so much to see the Yankees coming into town tonight with four games to play and just four games separating us in the standings.

This was supposed to be our year. Big free agent pitcher signed in the off-season. David Ortiz making his final swing through America’s (and Canada’s) ballparks. A vibrant crop of talented young’uns. Our primary goal was unseating the Blue Jays as kings of the AL East. Or kick Baltimore around because it’s so much fun seeing Buck Showalter grimace. The Yankees were literally the last thing on my mind.

And yet, here we are. And here they are. Just four games behind us. Suddenly contenders for not just the Wild Card but the goddam division.

I know they’re not gonna sweep us. There’s no way in the world that the Yankees are leaving Fenway Park on Sunday with the exact same record as us. Not gonna happen. You can take all your money and bet against a New York sweep at all the player tested online and mobile casinos. In fact, I’m thinking Red Sox sweep. After losing a series to the Orioles, I’m hoping the Sox can shake off this inability to win low-scoring games funk and bury the Yankees’ 2017 aspirations once and for all. Seeing New York crawl out of town eight games out of first wouldn’t exactly ruin my day.

But the point is, they’re making me think about them. They’re making me antsy. They’re filling me with a bit of that pre-2004 concern. Not a lot. But a little.

And that’s just enough to piss me off.