Most baseball fans in these parts share two sentiments. They love the Boston Red Sox. And they hate the New York Yankees. And when they get a chance to do both at the same time, life is pretty good.

Last week the Red Sox took 2 of 3 from New York, continuing the best start in Red Sox history. Even the one loss to New York felt like a win, with the Red Sox getting into a benches-clearing brawl with their longtime rivals.

Joe Kelly may never have to buy a drink in Boston again after he drilled Tyler Austin with a pitch Wednesday night. Not that we want our pitchers throwing at guys. We just like players who stand up for their teammates. And Kelly was the ultimate stand-up guy in the seventh inning when he retaliated for Austin’s spikes-high slide into Brock Holt.

It was a noteworthy change from the way last year’s team dealt with Manny Machado’s questionable slide that took out Dustin Pedroia early in the season. It was two days before anyone tried to throw at Machado, and it was a Matt Barnes pitch up near the head that angered the Orioles.

That situation seemed to linger over the Red Sox for weeks. Pedroia and others were continually asked about the situation, and the Sox seemed like a group that wasn’t on the same page.

They were on the same page last week. In fact, they were in the same huddle as players from both teams met on the field with punches being thrown. When the dust settled, Kelly was the most popular middle reliever in recent Red Sox history.

“Joe Kelly Fight Club” T-shirts began popping up around the ballpark by week’s end. And when Kelly was brought into Friday night’s game against the Orioles he was met by a standing ovation. That was a far cry from the reaction Kelly got after walking three batters and giving up four runs in an eighth-inning collapse on Opening Day at Tropicana Field.

The lovefest continued through the weekend. On Saturday night the TD Garden erupted when Kelly was shown in the crowd during Game 2 of the Bruins series with Toronto. The Red Sox were suddenly the darlings of Boston, even as the Bruins and Celtics were hosting first-round playoff games. And Kelly was the poster boy for a baseball team that was showing fight and winning games.

The Bruins shocked the hockey world with their offensive explosions in Games 1 and 2. We knew this young team was good, but there was no way we could’ve expected 12 goals in two games. The injury riddled Celtics jumped into the scene with an overtime win in Game 1 against the Bucks.

In this Golden Era of Boston Sports, we expect our teams to compete for championships ever year. Here, it’s not enough to just compete – you need to be the best. If not, we’ll move on to another team.

But we also want our teams and our athletes to show heart. We always have a soft spot in our hearts for blue-collar players who refused to be pushed around. We loved the Sox for the better part of 86 years even though they didn’t win a single championship. When they finally did, it was a drought broken by a team that was galvanized by a fight in late July.

The ghosts of Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez could be felt last week at Fenway. It’s only April, and it feels like January, but the Sox are looking like a team that will warm our hearts as summer rolls on.

That’s a nice little bonus in a spring loaded with playoff action at the Garden. There’s no better time in the Best Sports City in America.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.