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Nutshell: The Man Behind The Mask

Andy Thomas' detail-oriented mind comes from his upbringing
June 4, 2024

For Andy Thomas and his family, dinners were often round table discussions, and he absorbed every talking point.

For Andy Thomas and his family, dinners were often round table discussions, and he absorbed every talking point.

The topics ranged from daily recaps to religion and politics. Anything was up for discussion. Thomas credited the dinners with creating a healthy family dynamic and enhancing his ability to decipher little details.

“There was nothing off the table at our dinner table,” Thomas said. "I think that’s what helped my brother and I educate ourselves and have an opinion and form an opinion. My mom was really big on that and challenging us to why we believed the things we believed in. They were great, and my parents never forced their opinions on us.”

Some of those family conversations were about baseball, a topic Thomas quickly latched on to.

He would constantly talk baseball with his father and his older brother, Jakob. Thomas idolized Jakob, who was a catcher and played collegiately at Division II California State University Monterey Bay and Division III University of La Verne.

Thomas admitted that Jakob was the better ballplayer, and the two were extremely close growing up. They played wiffleball every day, watched TV together and were inseparable at a young age. Once Jakob put on the catcher’s gear, Thomas soaked in everything his brother did like a sponge.

“Everything he did in college and his college stories, is exactly what I wanted to emulate,” Thomas said. "From playing ball, being a leader of the team and just being the person and the man he is had a huge impact on me.”

Another inspiration in Thomas’ life is his grandfather, Paul Borowik. One fond memory was on a par-3 course in Thomas’ home state of California. Borowik bet Thomas could not drive the green on a hole, and Thomas was 10 dollars wealthier after his drive sailed over the pin.

The two agreed to a double-or-nothing wager that Thomas could make par on the hole. Five putts later, Thomas lost his winnings.

“I had such a normal childhood and the best family you could ever ask for, and then going to his house was just different,” Thomas said. “I think that’s what diversified my interests going into high school and college was a lot of things that he taught me. He was a really big impact on my life.”

Following his brother’s baseball path, Thomas pushed through high school and attracted the interest of a handful of Division I schools. Pepperdine University stood out to Thomas, and he committed while on a campus visit.

Two years later, Pepperdine’s head coach took the head coaching job at Baylor University, and Thomas followed him without seeing the campus. The blind jump turned in the Thomas’ best decision.

Thomas was part of a young catching core at Baylor that included future first-round pick Shea Langeliers. Everything was a competition in the program, and Thomas credits that to his current mentality.

“If you ask Shea today, that was the reason both of us had progressed our careers was because at Baylor, it was sink or swim,” Thomas said. “Both of us swam. He ended up playing a little more than I did the first three years. But that alone is what made us into the catchers we are today.”

Even if Thomas was not in the lineup, he knew he still needed to be a valuable teammate, a philosophy that was instilled in him through conversations with his dad. Over his fourth and fifth seasons, Thomas was the primary catcher after not seeing much time behind the plate early in college.

Thomas was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB draft and was later acquired by the San Francisco Giants at the 2022 trade deadline.

When preparing to operate behind the plate, Thomas bases his game plan on the pitcher. Once he receives the analytics information and knows who he is catching for, he pieces together his pitcher’s information and how they can attack opposing batters.

“The detail-oriented process behind that, I think, is what makes a good catcher,” Thomas said. "If you can have your pitcher’s best interests at heart, that’s when they trust you and then the chemistry is off the charts.”

His care for his teammates emulates his care for his family. Thomas stays close with them and with his nephews, Rhys and Hudson, eagerly looking forward to the next family dinner discussion.

“I’m really fortunate that we had that, because all of us would sit down for dinner every night,” Thomas said.

Favorite sports stadium? – Petco Park in San Diego

What’s your signature dish? – Fettuccine alfredo

When did you first pick up a baseball bat? – Probably around 3 or 4 years old

Best movie of all time? – Forgetting Sarah Marshall

What is your favorite off the field activity? – Love spending time with my wife, golfing, cooking and being outside

Favorite player growing up? – David Ortiz. Catcher though, Buster Posey was my guy

Most inspirational people in your life? – My parents, my brother and my grandpa