While barely crediting Keith Hernandez for noting Lasting Milledge’s reputation as a hot dog during the Mets rookie’s 2nd game in the big leagues this past Wednesday, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman unloads on SportsNet NY’s mouthpieces and their employer for handling the highly touted prospect with kid gloves.

When Milledge made his Shea debut Tuesday night, both voices were toeing the company line. The theme, coming from the top down, was of a bright tomorrow. Any baggage Milledge carried into Shea was to be ignored. On a night in which a potentially big and important part of the Mets future was unveiled, the past took a backseat.

So did the truth.

Then again, both Hernandez and Cohen probably already knew how certain members of the Mets hierarchy had gone wacko – even issuing threats – to anyone with the temerity to shed some real light on Milledge. Once they ran out of nasty and stopped screaming, Mets ownership must have realized they had nothing to worry about. Most of the local media had already rolled over for Fred and Jeff Wilpon, heaping platitudes on Milledge.

Either that, or they got hung up on the smoke-screen issue of the rather large cross Milledge was wearing around his neck.

So, there was hardly a word or whisper about how Milledge, during spring training, often had his watch set on “Pedro time,” taking the star trip and arriving at the ballpark late. What about those legal issues Milledge encountered when he was drafted by the Mets in 2003? They were a figment of some reporter’s imagination, right?

Mets ownership would also rather have everyone ignore that bench-clearing tango inspired by Milledge after he slid, spikes-high, into Richmond Braves third baseman Jonathan Schuerholz. The suits were not happy about the Daily News noting how Milledge’s “flamboyance” has made him a very unpopular guy among his International League peers.

This so galled Shea honchos, one Mets official said the team was considering suing for libel. The threat was so baseless, so preposterous, so illogical, it can only be described as a James Dolan moment.