Winter couldn’t really be over, could it? With all the wind and rain that scoured southern Maine last week, a pile of snow is as hard to find in these parts as a left-handed catcher.

There were two hours and 20 minutes more daylight Tuesday than on Dec. 21, making nine innings without the lights seem more possible.

And if we needed any more evidence, the first Red Sox spring training games get under way today, with split squad contests against Northeastern and Boston College.

That can only mean one thing: Although there might be some rough weather ahead, the worst is over and summer is on its way.

For Red Sox fans, there is plenty to look forward to.

The team has added 6-foot-6 right-hander John Lackey to an already stifling rotation, giving Boston five solid starters.

The new Red Sox are a defense-first organization that will not get blown out early, but with enough pop in the lineup to come up with clutch runs late in the game.

The New York Yankees have held on to the key pieces of their World Series winning team from last year, and added talented outfielder Curtis Granderson to their lineup.

It promises to be another long summer when every series between the two rivals makes everything in New England stop.

That is still a long way off, though. The established stars are off stretching somewhere and the lineups are filled with names you’ll hear more in Portland than in Boston. But at least by this one measure, winter is about to go find a seat on the bench.


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