It’s tough to get all hot and bothered about the World Series when the Sox don’t have a horse in the race. And, honestly, I don’t care who wins it all. So long as it isn’t the Yankees.

A Yankees win would really make this one of the most insufferable winters on record. Think about it. Teixeira and A-Rod cozying up to Conan O’Brien. The inevitable “Dynasty Reborn” documentary on ESPN. Joe Girardi peddling authentic game-worn nipple clamps on QVC. McCarver and Buck carrying Jeets up and down Madison on a sedan chair. AJ Burnett pimping Gatorade, Wheaties and “Balls Up” cologne. CC Sabathia guest-starring on a very special episode of “Cake Boss.”

And then there’ll be the fans. Reminding us daily about their 27 rings. Explaining how Nick Swisher ownz JD Drew. Chanting “2007.” Devising some Rube Goldberg-esque argument involving PEDs and cash that somehow renders our 2004 and 2007 titles invalid, conveniently forgetting that their run of late 20th century championships were bought with steroids, bribe money and robot voodoo (hey, I can make shit up, too!).

They’ll come out of the woodwork. Dusting off the caps they’ve hidden in shame for the past nine years. Bragging about how they’re a lock for 2010 as they order their double-meat sandwiches at Subway. There’ll be parades and keys to the city and “Cano for Mayor” signs and Roger Clemens dropping by to congratulate Andy and say how great it is to see the trophy back in New York where it belongs while he feels up college chicks behind the podium. It will be bragging rights and bullshit and a non-stop hail of “I told you so” calls to sports radio stations.

It won’t be as bad as the seething pain I felt throughout the winter of 2003. But it’ll be pretty damn close.

On the other hand…

If Pedro comes through tonight. If he shuts them down and shuts them up and forces a game seven. And if the Yankees drop that game seven in their new ballpark. In front of their hometown crowd. Now THAT would be a Christmas gift on par with a Sox Series victory.

If the Phillies win tonight, then all the pressure’s on New York. The papers will talk of collapse. The 2004 ALCS clips will roll fast and furious. They’ll shake their fists at the sky and ask how much money they have to spend to win one of these goddam things. I can’t imagine anything humbling a Yankees fan. But this would come pretty damn close.

One of the problems with working for a company that’s headquartered in New York City is that I spend a little too much time in the Apple. I was there on that fateful night in 2003 when Grady Little and Aaron Boone kicked us all in the jimmy. Tonight, ironically, I’ll be back there again. With Pedro on the hill in Yankee Stadium and a couple hundred folks in our NY office ready to pounce on me come Thursday morning.

If the Yanks pull it off, Thursday will be the first day of the rest of my off-season. But if they lose, if Pedro comes up huge and the stage is set for another monumental Yankee collapse, I’ll be the only guy smiling in the room. And I’ll be one step closer to never realizing a winter in which my insufferable Yankees fan friends become even more insufferable.

I’m right behind you, Pedro. Make it so.