15 Questions for Amy Gutierrez
For Amy Gutierrez, baseball has always been a family affair. Growing up as a fourth-generation baseball lover and talking about it over the dinner table was great early preparation for a career in sports broadcasting. After a stint covering basketball, the Emmy-winning journalist moved to baseball and started covering the San Francisco Giants for NBC Sports Bay Area in 2008. For a decade, Amy G — as she’s affectionately known to viewers — has focused on the stories behind the headlines, sharing the human side of the sport and insights into the Giants players. Recently, Gutierrez took her storytelling approach beyond the diamond with her children’s book series Smarty Marty.
What is your favorite Giants memory?
Interviewing Jonathan Sanchez after he authored a no-hitter in 2009. I loved the story line of the night, with Sanchez on the chopping block and given a final start to prove he belonged. His father was in the stands, visiting from Puerto Rico, watching his son pitch at the MLB level for the first time ever. The emotion was overwhelming and it was an honor to bring that moment to the Giants fan base.
How has sports broadcasting changed since you began your career?
There are more women. And I love it. Especially seeing more women in positions of influence or power. I also think there are just more positions in the industry allowing for different skill sets to be highlighted.
Advice to young women aspiring to work in sports broadcasting?
Know your sport. There is not the same room for error when it comes to women versus men in this industry. So if you’re not confident about something, don’t try and sell it. Talk about what you know and learn, learn, learn the rest.
Who were your first Giants interviews?
In the same season, Pablo Sandoval and Sergio Romo were called up. They were two of my favorites as rookies. Always bright-eyed and available for interviews. But also that same season Rich Aurilia, Dave Roberts and Randy Winn were on the team. Known as the “Rat Pack” of the Giants, those three are some of my favorite people in sports and life. Always helpful and accommodating, they helped me figure out my role as a rookie.
Most fun interview?
Too many to pick just one. All of the postseason interviews from ’10,’12 and ’14 were extra exciting, knowing what was on the line. It’s also always fun to interview someone willing to “play,” like Jeremy Affeldt or Javier Lopez. They each have a wicked sense of humor and can be super sarcastic. Sarcasm, if understood, can be a reporter’s best friend.
Most challenging interview?
Without naming names, there have been a few. I’ve worked with all types of personalities. Some guys are nervous, some are simply uncomfortable talking about themselves. But the challenge is why I do it. It’s very rewarding when you get a player who isn’t known for talking to open up and trust you.
Favorite thing to eat at AT&T Park?
The Cha Cha Bowl hands down. It’s hall-of-famer Orlando Cepeda’s recipe. So, contrary to popular opinion, it’s not those World Series rings that motivate me, it’s the opportunity to eat a bowl.
Day or night game?
Easy. Night. Traffic on day games is brutal.
What do you want every parent to know about baseball?
It’s a game and it’s supposed to be fun. I think that concept gets lost on a lot of parents. It’s also a difficult game to learn physically and intellectually, so be patient.
How did you become an author?
By chance really. I was approached by publisher Cameron & Co. in Petaluma about writing a book about baseball for kids. But what really put things into motion was the push from my grandmother. She passed away November 12, 2012, and shortly thereafter I signed a contract to write about a strong female character who teaches her brother to love the game of baseball through scoring the game. I named her Marty in honor of my grandmother (Martha) and dedicated the book to her.
What inspired you to write your second book in the series?
I think we’re in a very interesting time, politically and socially. I have a 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter and it is very important that my husband and I foster strong, confident children with a voice and sense of achievability. Smarty Marty turns the tables on gender stereotypes and raises the question “why not a girl?” That’s a topic I’m passionate about driving awareness of.
It’s home. I was raised there, and while it’s a little distant from work, there is always a sense of calm and familiarity when I get off the freeway and pull into my driveway. It’s a wonderful community to raise our children in and [that community] has been very supportive of my career while protecting my privacy.
If you could come back as any Giant in history, who would it be?
Any Giant? Willie Mays is the predictable answer here. But I’m not very predictable. I would love to know what it was like to play in the shoes of Will Clark. The Thrill was one of my favorite players growing up and his passion and intensity for the game is still unmatched, in my opinion. And let’s not get started on that sweet, sweet swing.
Describe a typical day when you are working a home game.
Hectic. More than half of the season my kids are in school so that’s an element that enhances the crazy of the day because there is no denying the alarm clock that buzzes Monday through Friday. April, May, part of June, part of August and September it’s kids first. Breakfast, lunches and drop-off, hopefully a trip to the gym and then around 10:30 a.m. I turn my focus to that evening’s game. I’m responsible for my own content, setting up and preparing for Giants pregame interviews, sponsorship interviews and moderating a Facebook live broadcast once each series. There’s always more — meet and greets, emcee duties, etc. — but this is the nutshell.
What are your tips for balancing work and family?
Breathe. It’s so hard to find balance in life in general. You throw marriage, children, career into the mix and things can easily get out of whack. Take a moment and breathe. Stay true to who you are and the challenges that attempt to throw you off-kilter and life will be a little easier to tackle. A nice glass of wine never hurts either