Stony Brook University’s Joe Nathan came home to his alma mater and native New York State on Friday, October 28th to dedicate the team’s new baseball field. Nathan, a Pine Bush, NY native, gave the baseball program a $500,000 lead gift towards construction of the state-of-the-art facility in 2008. In recognition of his commitment, Stony Brook named the field in Nathan’s honor.
The field first hosted action on May 20, 2012 with an America East league game against SUNY rival Albany. With a Field Turf playing surface and new dugouts, bullpens and scoreboard, the facility is currently one of the best in the conference.
Outside of his significant financial support, the program holds Nathan as a model of what they want their student-athletes to achieve. He flourished as a shortstop while the program was still on the Division III level, and had as much success academically as he did on the diamond. “(Nathan) was a great player, a great student, and really embodies everything that we’re trying to produce,” said Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore to Newsday last week.
Nathan, who graduated from Stony Brook in 1997, also used his trip back to Long Island to express his desire to play for the New York Mets, who he rooted for as a kid. Nathan spent the last seven seasons as a closer with the Minnesota Twins, setting the club’s all time saves record this past August. The Twins recently bought out Nathan’s option, leaving him to explore his options. He told the New York Daily News, “I know what playing in New York is about and I know how passionate the fans are about the teams they like. … I was a Met fan growing up and my friends from the area are giving me pressure to give them strong consideration.”
Read College Baseball Daily’s previous coverage of Joe Nathan Field here.