Michael Kay
Mitch Stringer | USA TODAY Sports

Michael Kay has gone back to the “Craig Carton is mean” well with his WFAN nemesis about to exit the afternoon drive stage.

“The only thing that bothered me about Craig Carton is how nasty he was toward me when I never did anything to him,” the ESPN Radio New York voice said during an appearance on The Post’s baseball podcast. “Never fired back at him.”

No, Kay saves his gunpowder for veteran producers and random listeners. Or has his lackey launch the salvos. And let us just forget all the stuff he said about Mike Francesa back in the day, OK?

MORE: Francesa weighs in on WFAN’s lineup changes

Kay’s comments are nothing new. He has consistently lamented Carton’s on-air behavior and content while the soon-to-be-FS1 full-time and partner Evan Roberts have drubbed Kay, Don La Greca and Peter Rosenberg in the quarterly ratings battle. Carton’s ability to do “guy talk” and his proclivity to play rough and tumble is one of the litany of excuses Kay has provided for ESPN’s massive deficit, along with various Nielsen meter conspiracy theories and the proclamation his program is the best in the country.

Anyway, Kay now has renewed relevancy. And WFAN has not beaten him in the ratings in over five years without Carton or Francesa. That includes Roberts’ afternoon stint with station legend Joe Benigno. So there is pressure on Roberts and his new partner, former Giants star Tiki Barber, to maintain WFAN’s stranglehold. Kay has a chance to rally — one he takes begrudgingly.

“The narrative is Kay’s probably thrilled. No. I’d rather continue to get my butt kicked and try to win,” Kay said on the podcast. “Let’s say we beat Tiki and Roberts, it’s still going to be ‘Well, you didn’t beat Craig at the end.’ I wanted him to stay, I wanted to continue to try to beat him.”

James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.