New York Yankees play-by-play man Michael Kay isn’t worried about how his New York Mets counterparts Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez or Ron Darling might react if he runs into them Wednesday night at Citi Field during the Subway Series.

“I’ll go up there and I’ll give them a hug, maybe a kiss today,” Kay said by phone Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t think it’d be awkward at all, because I’m not saying they’re bad. I’m just saying that, to say that they’re the best — well, who says?”

A day earlier — before the first of two games between the Mets and Yankees this week — the Mets’ station, SNY, ran an ad touting the Mets’ TV booth as the best in town. Kay was particularly irked that the ad ran during his program, The Michael Kay Show, a radio program that is simulcast on YES.

Kay brought up the commercial on his program, noting that his words might get him in trouble.

“I’m sorry, I think we’re the best booth in baseball,” Kay said on the air Tuesday.

Reached by The Athletic on Wednesday, Kay called the segment lighthearted and praised the Mets’ booth — but he also doubled down on what he believes is an open-ended question as to New York’s best behind the mic.

“It takes a lot of hubris for SNY to run that ad,” Kay said. “For them just to come out and say, ‘Go listen to the best booth in baseball,’ advertising it on my show, I thought was a little odd, so I thought I’d poke fun at it. I think it’s subjective. I think that they’re a terrific booth. I really do. Yeah, I think they’re great. And I think that we’re a terrific booth.

“I got a text from Paul O’Neill who was listening to the show driving in and he said, ‘I couldn’t believe that they ran that ad on your show, I’m glad you said something.’ Not that it’s combative at all.”

Cohen and SNY declined comment.

Ron Darling, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez pose with Jerry Seinfeld at Citi Field on Sept. 29, 2021. (Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images for Netflix)

This isn’t the first time Kay has heard the Mets’ trio called the best. A headline in 2023 read, “Gary, Keith, and Ron Are Still the Best Booth in Baseball.” A headline from the sports media website Awful Announcing earlier this year carried the same sentiment. A 2018 New York Times Magazine piece noted Gary, Keith and Ron as “the only thing” Mets fans “get to lord over Yankee fans,” and a reader survey done by The Athletic in 2020 resulted in the Mets’ broadcast team earning the top spot.

“I’ve never wanted to address it, because they are a terrific booth, so who am I to say they’re not?” Kay said when asked if the topic had simmered over time. “I just feel like that over the years, it’s gained too much traction, that they are the best group in baseball. Well, OK, according to whom? I mean, is it a panel of experts? Did Bob Costas say that?

“Who exactly has said that?” Kay continued. “Mets fans love their booth. I think that Gary, Ron and Keith are probably more beloved than any Met player. I really do believe that. And their fan base is very protective of the announcers, so I think it’s gained traction over the years. And again, it’s hard to argue, because they are terrific. But you know, to say that they’re the best booth in baseball, listen to them instead of YES, I thought I’d stick up for my guys a little bit.”

Kay said he thinks that most people believe the San Francisco Giants’ duo of Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper are baseball’s top booth.

“It’s not an exact science,” he said. “Most people say it’s Kruk and Kuip. So who knows?”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Kay said he hadn’t heard anything from his Mets counterparts. He saw them on Tuesday out at Citi Field, but his comments didn’t come up.

“Yesterday, after I finished my show, I walked upstairs, I talked with Keith for like five minutes, and then I went in the booth and me and Gary hugged,” Kay said. “I really like those guys. I wouldn’t say they’re close friends, because when they’re home, I’m on the road, whatever the case may be. But I think we have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. And again, Gary’s not a hugger, but me and him hugged yesterday.”

Kay said the hug was about something unrelated.

“They probably didn’t even know that I said that,” Kay said.

(Top photo of Michael Kay: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

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