By: Robert Stevens
Niagara County Community College third baseman Andrew Fairbrother is getting a chance at intercollegiate summer ball as he follows Assistant Coach Matt Marcewicz to Utica for their first season with the Utica Blue Sox. Fairbrother is ecstatic to get his PGCBL career started in the baby blue and white.
Fairbrother was expected to begin his collegiate career last spring before COVID-19 ripped that opportunity from his grasp. Now, in 2021, Fairbrother is determined to show the bigger schools exactly what he is capable of.
“First and foremost, I want to compete for a World Series with our team and see how far we can get,” Fairbrother said. “After that, I’m looking to showcase my skills for a school that’s the right fit where I’m going to get a chance to play.”
The love of baseball for Fairbrother began when he was young and began hitting off the tee. His father got him into the game and Fairbrother uses his father’s past to better his own future at the collegiate level.
“I just remember being out there in the backyard playing catch with him almost every night and I just fell in love with it that way,” Fairbrother said. “My dad was always pushing me to be better. He is always telling me he was better than me as a kid so that gave me motivation.”
Growing up, Fairbrother didn’t just draw his motivation from his father. He also drew it from his idol, Manny Machado. Whether it was when Machado stepped up to the plate or fielded a hit to third base, Fairbrother admired his game.
“He’s just got a big arm and swings across the diamond with an electric personality,” Fairbrother said. “Just growing up with me and him both being a third baseman, I always liked the way he plays the game with really good defense.”
Like Machado, Fairbrother is excited to bring that electric personality to whatever team he plays for. This includes the Blue Sox.
“I’m a high energy guy,” Fairbrother said. “You’ll never see me down or pouting. I’m a team first guy and I just want to see the boys do well. I’ve always got a smile on my face and always bring my best to the ballpark.”
In an effort to be like his hero, Fairbrother adopted the number 13 to dawn onto his jersey throughout his career. Coming to the Thunder Wolves, he ran into a slight issue. This was his six foot two frame.
“Being Manny Machado, I wanted to do the same number he wore when he was with the Orioles,” Fairbrother said. “But at Niagara, unfortunately, number 13 was a medium which is a little too small for me. So, I had to go with 31 which I think is a good substitute.”
This season Fairbrother moves to number 12 and is batting a .438 average in 105 at bats totaling 46 hits with 24 RBIs. With his success this season, Fairbrother knows he made the right decision in attending a junior college in Niagara CCC.
Fairbrother grew up in Williamsville, NY. He is only a 30 minute drive from going home to see his family. Because of this, Fairbrother is happy to call Niagara Falls home for the next couple of years.
“The school’s winning culture really drew me in especially with it being close to home” Fairbrother said. “Being able to just go home sometimes to have a nice family meal and that’s really important to me.”
Before this season, Fairbrother hadn’t played competitive ball since 2019 at Williamsville North High School where he had a .400 batting average in 70 at bats. This included 23 RBIs and five home runs. This revival in baseball has given him the motivation to fight each day as if it’s his last on the field.
“I’ve always been a guy to never take anything for granted,” Fairbrother said. “Putting in a whole season of work and then getting it taken away. It was heartbreaking. So we are out here fighting like every day is going to be our last day.”
As life returns to normalcy, the realization that he will play for the Blue Sox this summer is coming to the forefront of his mind. To Fairbrother, this is a pure opportunity to expand his game.
“I can’t wait to have the experience to live farther away from home and have the ability to play baseball and live the lifestyle I would be living if I went to college away,” Fairbrother said. “I honestly can’t wait to come out there and play with you especially because it’s such a respected program.”