It was March 16, 2006, five days before the first-ever Twitter post. So say this for SNY’s first several hours in existence: At least it was spared 2010s-style social media scrutiny.

The audio and video worked sporadically during the first two studio shows, and for the first Mets spring training game, the commercial breaks did not work quite right, meaning an essentially ad-free telecast.


But Gary Apple, the first person ever to speak on the network, said that even then, he was focused on a bigger, better picture — literally and figuratively.

“It didn’t really faze me,” he recalled. “I knew there would be some growing pains . . . I had told myself going in: Look, this is not going to be perfect at the beginning.”

Ten years later, Apple more fondly remembers what he did say at the top of that very first telecast more than the minor glitches that followed.

“Hello, everybody, I’m Gary Apple, and welcome to Sports Net New York and a slice of television history. This is your new TV home for the Mets, Jets, and all things New York sports.”

That was the mantra and it remains so for Apple and others among an unusually high number of SNY originals still on the job, including the Mets’ team of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez (as well as their producer, Gregg Picker, and director, Bill Webb), executive producer Curt Gowdy Jr. and president Steve Raab, who was a vice president in 2006.

It is quite a stable operation, particularly so because the team that is its flagship programming product and part-owner had been a bit less so for much of the past decade.

Speaking of the Mets, when the network introduced its name and logo in September 2005, owner Fred Wilpon promised SNY would be free to criticize the team and would cover other New York teams thoroughly, too.

Raab believes SNY has delivered on both.

Of the former, he said, “Over these 10 years, there were a lot of things that happened with the Mets and ownership, and I could have understood if at some point ownership had said, ‘I know we said that, but . . . ’ And they never said that.

“I think we’ve done a really good job of staying true to that and not just as it relates to the Mets, but everything we cover. I think that is a recognized differentiator in this marketplace for SNY.”

Of the latter, he said, “Our tag line of ‘Get your New York sports here,’ I think we’ve held true to that . . . We’ve maintained a really good balance of super-serving Mets fans while staying true to what we said we’re going to be.”

An early test came in 2008, when more than one SNY voice sharply criticized management for how it handled the firing of Mets manager Willie Randolph. But that was merely the tip of the iceberg the Mets ran into in the coming years.

“When I was approached to be part of SNY, one of the things that I was assured immediately was that they did not want me to change,” Cohen said. “I had done 17 years on the radio with the Mets. I think everybody was pretty familiar with who I was and how I approached things.

“It had always been a standard, going all the way back to Lindsey [Nelson], Ralph [Kiner] and Bob [Murphy]. Certainly Bob and I having worked together for as long as we did, it was a given that we were not going to be homers, that we were going to be a down-the-middle- broadcast.”

The popularity of the booth Gowdy assembled might be the biggest factor in SNY’s image.

“We have been very fortunate that as a team what they best represent aligns with our brand and who we are,” Raab said. “And I give the guys a lot of credit for also recognizing that and recognizing there are not a lot of places they could be who they are . . . Everybody kind of found each other, and it’s important and not easily duplicated.”

Still, Mets games are the easy part in business terms, and what makes channels such as YES and SNY even more valuable than the teams they cover. The real challenge is assembling meaningful other programming — and getting people to watch it.

SNY relies on college sports, news programs, original shows, Jets coverage and the like. The economic payoff is, well, complicated.

Raab said he understands why a cold, bottom-line analysis might advocate running Mets games, pregames and postgames and little else but test patterns.

“My response to that is I understand why a banker would think that way,” he said. “But I think there is a place for a qualitative aspect to go into what it is you do and that builds your brand and the credibility of what your business is that I think helps you in your core product.”

Gowdy said there are 78 people who work in the SNY newsroom on a daily basis.

“When we launched, there was skepticism: Will SNY remain true to form?” Gowdy said. “We’ve never wavered, and that’s what I’m most proud of. We’ve been able to produce unbiased programming from the day we launched.”

Apple was the most recognizable name among the initial wave of hires for the newsroom and has served in a variety of roles, most recently Mets studio host.

The man who uttered SNY’s first words gets the last words here:

“We saw the opportunity to go someplace that had long-term growth and seemed like a really exciting venture,” he said. “You never know when start-ups happen . . . It was a little bit of a leap of faith. But I did have confidence it was going to work.”

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