I never thought I’d write these words, but I hope Phil Mushnick returns from vacation very soon. His TV/radio understudy, the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand damns himself, his readers and the YES Network’s Michael Kay with exceedingly faint praise Monday morning.

In Michael Kay’s world, games are no longer classified as “manageable or unmanageable.” When promoting YES’ website, he has stopped recommending that viewers should “buy a computer, plug it in and turn it on.” And in the middle of the seventh inning, he doesn’t implore fans on their couches to, “Get up and stretch.”

“I don’t want to rely on shtick,” Kay said.

Good for Kay.

The 1050 show – which keeps improving in the ratings, but still doesn’t touch Mike & the Mad Dog – creates another problem, too. Kay calls the balance between being the TV voice of the Yankees and spewing hard-hitting opinions on his talk show a “high-wire act” and he freely concedes he may have to choose one or the other at some point.

Still, Kay has found time to try to improve. The most noticeable difference this season is the manageable and unmanageable are gone. Kay said he was sick of the attention – much of it from angry fans – who felt he was disrespecting his good fortune to be the TV voice of the Yankees by daring to label games in this fashion based on if it lasted three hours or not.

Shtick is a crutch that, as Kay correctly pointed out, is like telling an old joke over and over again. What once might have been entertaining grows tired (See: Berman, Chris). But Kay has started to kick the shtick crutch to the side.

Good for him.