Carefully trying not to trumpet his paper’s close association with the new channel too loudly (someone else can do that, as Phil Mushnick will surely note in a future column), the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman heralds the unveiling of the Mets’ SportsNet NY.

SNY, the new TV home of the Mets, will air its first game tonight, a grapefruit league matchup with Atlanta. Gary Cohen, who moves from the radio booth to SNY, will call the game with Keith Hernandez. The two will form SNY’s primary broadcast team for the network’s 125-game schedule. The other member of the team – Ron Darling – will provide commentary tonight from SNY’s Manhattan studio.

Darling also will be part of a fan festival before SNY boss Jon Litner flips the switch, turning on SNY at 5 p.m. for the first edition of “Daily News Live.” From 4 p.m to 5 p.m., in the plaza outside SNY’s studio at 51st St. and Sixth Ave. Ed Kranepool, Curtis Martin, Brooks Bollinger and Mark Gastineau will be on hand to participate in the festivities along with SNY’s “TV Heads.”

With the possible exception of Benoit Benjamin making balloon animals for the kids, I can’t think of a bigger or better draw than Mark Gastineau (above, left).