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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Nathan Donates $500,000 for New Baseball Field

    Behind the lead donation of Minnesota Twins All Star closer and Stony Brook ’96 alum Joe Nathan, the team that took national powers Arizona St. and Vanderbilt to the limit in the NCAA tournament is finally going to have a field worthy of their play.

    With money being put into renovations of the basketball arena, home of the men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as the volleyball team, it was only a matter of time before the university took a good look at the field that houses the America East Champion baseball team.

    “To have an opportunity to help them out with that and being able to give them some money to help out the kids that are there and future guys that are going be coming in is a position I feel blessed to be in,” Nathan said in a telephone interview.

    The Seawolves baseball team was able to host the 2008 America East baseball championship, but had to play all the games at SUNY Farmingdale. The tournaments #1 seed Binghamton was unable to host the tournament because they could not secure a sufficient field near enough to their campus.

    Nathan’s donation of $500,000 will be put towards a brand new facility that includes a field turf surface, and “will be as nice as any,” said baseball Head Coach Matt Senk. “It’s something our program needs, and thanks to Joe’s lead gift it will happen.”

    Both Nathan and Senk think the new field will help with recruiting a higher caliber of player and help the program grow into a true national power.

    “It’s tough as a player, and as one of the top players around, to go into the campus and see the field that’s there now and get excited about it,” Nathan said. “Hopefully this new facility will really bring some of the top players around the area and the country and give them something exciting to play in.”

    The current field held up well when the Seawolves were a Division 3 school but the team’s improvements along with the deteriorations of the field made this improvement necessary. “We had to get out of that division because we were taking care of business, handling D3 pretty good,” Nathan said. “To see them progress and move onto D1 and not stop there, they’re looking to not just be a D1 school but be a contender.”

    “The changes have been dramatic,” Coach Senk agreed. “The level of the athlete, the facilities, everything around is a totally different atmosphere.”

    Although Nathan has not been back to the campus much since his graduation, the university let him know what they wanted to do when he came back for a ceremony to retire his number last December.

    “I knew having gone out their when they retired my number and gave me a tour, and kind of gave me a spiel on what they’d like to do,” Nathan said. “It’s a situation you feel fortunate you can help them out.”

    Although Nathan is now an All-Star pitcher, his time at Stony Brook was not spent of the pitchers mound. He was a strong shortstop, but Senk knew it would be better for the team and Joe if he went to the mound. After he got drafted by the San Francisco Giants he actually quit baseball before coming back.

    Nathan also spoke highly of his time at Stony Brook. “It was just about living the college experience,” Nathan said. “For me it was really just getting to know that group of friends that I still talk to to this day. That’s what gets you comfortable in school, when you do have that core group of guys around you to hang out with to kill the time when times are a little slower and all.”

    But with continued facility improvements and an increased focus on athletics, the campus could be given a breath of fresh air with more high profile games on campus.

    “That’s what it’s all about; wining the tournaments, your name gets out there and kids start wanting to go to that school,” Nathan said. “It’s all a big chain reaction. Hopefully this is a little piece of the puzzle that continues them on the right track.”

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