New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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NYU Athletics unveils new indoor baseball training facility

The new facility “helps level out the playing field” for NYU’s baseball team, removing the need for multi-hour commutes.
A+man+in+a+suit+cutting+purple+ribbon+while+N.Y.U.+baseball+players+stand+behind+him+and+watch.
Jason Alpert-Wisnia
NYU’s new baseball facility opened on Feb. 29, 2024. (Jason Alpert-Wisnia for WSN)

NYU opened the new Branca Family Baseball Facility in the Palladium Hall Athletic Facility on Thursday, Feb. 29.

The indoor training facility includes two batting cages fitted with pitching machines, pitching mounds, equipment storage and a TV that displays batting and pitching statistics for those in the cages.

The facility represents the missing piece in the program. It provides a convenient location for the NYU baseball team to practice on campus, saving them hours of commuting time between Manhattan and their other indoor training facilities in Brooklyn, the Bronx or New Jersey.

“Today’s a day that the baseball program just got better,” said head coach Doug Kimbler. “It’s provided the team with a much easier way of balancing their rigorous academics with more baseball.”

Three men in a baseball facility practicing. Two stand off to the side while one holds a baseball bat.
(Jason Alpert-Wisnia for WSN)

For most of his coaching career at NYU, Kimbler and his team have had to commute to Coney Island for games and practices when the weather permits, requiring an hour of travel time each way. The two-hour commute on top of three- or four-hour practices meant players would need to devote an entire evening to the ordeal.

“We play in a very competitive conference and a lot of the schools already have a facility like this,” said junior Aidan Dolinsky. “This really helps level out the playing field, especially when we have to play schools in the South where they always have great weather.”

The batting cages also allow the team to get live at-bats, which wasn’t possible at previous indoor facilities. This season, despite starting 4-0, the team didn’t have their first live at-bat until their first game against Russell Sage College on Feb. 24.

The new facility was made possible by John G. Branca, entertainment lawyer and father of current team member Dylan Branca.

“These kids are getting a good education and they love playing baseball,” Branca said. “It’s not easy to come to this school, so let’s make their life a little easier.”

A man in a suit stands with six men in N.Y.U. baseball jerseys and purple N.Y.U. hats.
Donor John Branca and his son Dylan Branca with the new baseball facility with the team. (Jason Alpert-Wisnia for WSN)

The Branca family’s legacy with the university dates back to the 1940s. Like his son and grandson, John R. Branca attended NYU, having earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the university. He became a New York state assemblyman and became chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission in 1983.

Extended family member Ralph Branca pitched for NYU’s baseball team in spring 1944 as a first-year before making his MLB debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers that June. He also played basketball for the school and was inducted into NYU’s Hall of Fame for both sports in 1980.

During his tenure with the Dodgers, Ralph Branca befriended Jackie Robinson and refused to sign the petition to remove Robinson from the team. The two became lifelong friends, and John G. Branca has continued his uncle’s legacy by serving as a director of the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

“This training facility will stand as a symbol of the Branca family’s enduring dedication to NYU, providing our athletes with resources [they] crucially need for their success,” said NYU senior associate athletic director Janice Quinn.

Contact Jonathan Mak at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Jonathan Mak, Deputy Sports Editor
Jonathan Mak is a sophomore studying Journalism and Psychology at CAS. His mood depends on the Manchester United results, and he can be found obsessing over his fantasy Premier League team, trying to find authentic Southeast Asian food or watching "How I Met Your Mother." Send fantasy PL tips or invites to pick-up football games to @_jonmak on Instagram and @_jonathanmak_ on X, formerly Twitter.
Jason Alpert-Wisnia, Editor-at-Large
Jason Alpert-Wisnia is a junior majoring in Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts, primarily focused on photojournalism and documentary photography. His photography ranges from coverage of professional sports, to political protests and music festivals. When he is not pounding the pavement with a camera in his hands looking for the next story, you are likely to find Jason in a used bookstore looking for rare finds or in the park reading. You can find him on Instagram @jasonalpertwisnia and contact him at [email protected].

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