The best time of year, hands down, is fast approaching. Autumn is waiting in the wings, prepared to shoo away summer and bring a chill to the evenings and red to the leaves.

I’ve always been an autumnal kind of person. I don’t like winter and while I’ll take heat over the cold, I’m not crazy about high humidity and oppressive heat. I basically spend the less tolerable seasons thinking about the fall and how happy it makes me. Give me the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet. Hand me a hot cider with a stick of cinnamon. Take me to Cold Hollow and let me breathe in the smell of apple everything. The approaching season is why I couldn’t imagine living anywhere but New England.

The first real sign of autumn’s impending arrival comes tonight, and I’m pretty excited about it. As soon as I can officially welcome the weekend, I’m heading to Foxboro to watch the Patriots play the Eagles in another one of those “Please Play, Tom Brady” preseason events that marks the start of another football season. The Pats and the Sox are now going to resume their battle for top-of-the-fold coverage in the papers; the efforts of Wes Welker and Matt Light once again will try to pry my attention away from those of Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.

I was never a football person. I hated it, with a passion. With neither a high school nor college team to properly introduce me to the game, I was left only with lingering bitterness from years of Sunday and Monday nights spent reading (thanks to my parents using both televisions to keep track of their Fantasy Football teams). But it started to change when I went to my first Pats game. And now I’m hooked, to the point that I sat through cold, then more cold, last season.

There’s no question that I’m a baseball girl. The Red Sox have had my heart for as long as I can remember*, and I’ve always loved that game.

BUT it’s nice to be able to welcome Bill and his boys back into the picture–and it’s an absolute delight to enjoy both during this all-too-small window of time.

*People will ask me on occasion (particularly when I’m at Fenway) about how long I have been a Red Sox fan. My answer: when he learned that he was going to be welcoming a little girl into the world, my father set for himself two goals. First, she would be able to appreciate the Red Sox. Second, she would be able to throw like a boy. He succeeded. Word is that a baseball was in my crib almost as soon as I was.