Are the Sox the new Yankees?

Buck Showalter is the new Public Enemy No. 1 in Boston after his shot across the bow of Red Sox management.

The Orioles skipper, doomed to a life with a third-place ceiling, lashed out at his competition in Men’s Journal, questioning Theo Epstein’s stewardship.

“I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll,” Showalter said.

Showalter was quickly and loudly denounced — by fans, media and even manager Terry Francona. But through all Buck’s bluster, a painful truth remains for the Nation: Showalter’s view is hardly his own. In many circles, the once lovable, underdog Jedis from Boston are almost indistinguishable from the Evil Empire.

The payroll might be closer to $170 million than $205, and Epstein needs no defending after turning the farm system into a treasure trove and making savvy moves to secure two World Series titles.

But after acquiring Carl Crawford for $142 million this offseason and with a $160 million extension about to go to Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox have further cemented the notion that they and the Yankees play on their own field, leaving the Baltimores of the world helpless to compete with them.

Not that anyone in Boston is shedding any tears. Just don’t expect to shed the labels anytime soon.

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