This is a normal day.
A fan stumbles up the steps with a grin from ear to ear and slurs, “Hi, so my friends and I wanted to know, do you score games?”
She’s heard this many times before, but she answers respectfully and charmingly, as always. She replies, “Yes, I do!”
Scoring a game is a special pastime for San Francisco Giants’ in-game reporter Amy Gutierrez, or Amy G, as she’s known by the fans. When I got the chance to shadow her during the Giants’ game against the Cincinnati Reds on June 27th, she informed me that the question she gets asked the most during games is, ironically, “Do you score?” That one simple moment of the fan asking her this question connects all aspects of her life now.
Amy G keeps score during games for record-keeping purposes, which pertain to her reporting duties for Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, and she’s constantly approached by fans who adore her and often ask her about scoring a game. Scoring also provides a sense of comfort though. It brings her back to her roots and connects her back to her grandmother.
Scoring is a generational ritual, which she learned from her mother and her grandmother, Marty. The name Marty might sound familiar to some Giants fans. Among the multitude of Amy’s accomplishments, she wrote a children’s book entitled Smarty Marty’s Got Game, inspired by her “favorite person in the world,” her grandmother.
Amy was originally approached about writing a children’s book in September 2012, but because of the Giants’ postseason run that year that resulted in their second World Series title in three years, she postponed writing the book. Her grandmother died soon after the Giants’ World Series parade, and she decided that the best way to “immortalize her” was to write this book.
“When she died, I just kept replaying this conversation in my head as to what she wanted me to do, and she really wanted me to write that book,” Amy revealed. “I thought maybe I could name the character Marty after my grandma, and she could actually always live and I can make her immortal.”
After her grandmother’s death, Amy felt inspired to name the main character “Marty” and teach children how to score.
Amy’s life is a constant battle for balance. Every day, she has to balance having a highly visible role as the in-game reporter for the Giants, being a businesswoman, a children’s book author, an active member in the community, a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a friend.
“I’m not anonymous anymore, even in my hometown. You know that’s going to have an effect on your family,” Amy explained. “I’ve had to find this balance between who I am, who Amy G is to them, and who I am as a mom, a wife, and a daughter.”
Amy is a public figure, but she said her family keeps her grounded and keeps things in perspective. When talking to her, she instantly emotes how important her family is to her. She praised how engaged her husband (Paul Gutierrez, an ESPN NFL reporter) is, and she mentioned how she loves learning through her kids.
Amy even showed her motherly nature when making room for me to sit next to her in the dugout and reminding me to always be aware of foul balls, because she didn’t want me to get hurt. Amy even endearlingly called me a “pup” when I said I had just graduated from UC Davis, also her alma mater, a year ago.
As much as Amy enjoys being a mother, you can see the enjoyment that her job brings to her as well. When she first got the CSNBA gig, there were no guidelines. Given her experience in production, she was given freedom on how she wanted to go about reporting. Larry Baer recommended her, Comcast Sportsnet had faith in her, and the move has paid off for everyone involved.
Now in her seventh season with the Giants, Amy G has been a witness to some incredible moments and has been able to tell some magnificent stories. Her favorite moment while covering the Giants was seeing Jonathan Sanchez throw a no-hitter in 2009. The fact that he was on the chopping block and that his dad had come to see him pitch in the major leagues for the first time made her very emotional.
Amy G said that it’s unbelievable that she’s been able to witness two no-hitters, a perfect game, and two World Series. She claimed that the “mounting tension, anxiety, and excitement” in those games is indescribable.
When discussing the similarities between the 2010 World Series team, the 2012 World Series team, and this year’s club, she pointed to their team chemistry. However, she mentioned that this year, there isn’t a standout media figure like Brian Wilson back in 2010.
Amy G mentioned that this year’s club is a very cohesive unit and that she’s very lucky to cover a team of really good people.
“As far as covering the Giants, this year, in particular, I really couldn’t ask for a better group of players,” Amy G remarked. “I think that’s the best way to describe these guys is they’re characters. I’m sure there’s an ego to all of them, you kind of have to have one to be a professional athlete, but they’re characters.
“Any time you see a winning club, they do quirky things. They’re quirky and odd, and they have a way of being able to relax under pressure. That is not something we saw last year.”
One of her favorite aspects of the job is being able to connect with the players and tell their stories from a different perspective. Amy G is a storyteller, and she conveys players’ stories and emotions extremely well.
“It’s one of those things that as a former athlete and a sports addict, it’s the best possible situation you could ever imagine for who you were a fan of growing up, who you work with every day, the emotion you’re going to get to witness, and the feelings you’re going to get to see expressed. They make the best sports stories.” Amy explained passionately.
“To me, why I wanted to get into sports journalism was because you could have these incredible heroes, but they were still everyday people in some way, shape, or form. They were a parent, or they lost a parent. They all have these stories, and that was why I got into it, because I wanted to tell their story.
“Then they’re these extreme people that they can do these things. They can hit a 100-mile an hour pitch, they can throw 100 miles per hour, yet they’re so relatable if you break them down. They have these very relatable experiences, so that’s kind of always my goal.”
Amy G greatly enjoys connecting with the players, but her absolute favorite part of her job is giving back to the community.
“Some of my favorite things are being able to reach out into the community, based on the stage that we get here,” Amy G stated. “It’s really been a launching pad for really positive things as a person in a community trying to make a difference, and…it allows you to do things you would never be able to do or have access to. I try and always turn my access into something really positive for my community.”
Amy G is passionate about her community and giving back to impactful organizations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Junior Giants, and the Petaluma Educational Foundation. Although her job allows her to make a greater difference in the community and reach out to more people, she inherently faces a lot of day-to-day challenges as well.
Amy G said managing the loss of her privacy is probably the most difficult aspect of her job. To her, she’s just Amy. To others, she’s Amy G, which means she always has to be aware of her actions and how it can affect her image. Especially given the amount of access fans have with social media now, she explained that there is rarely a moment where someone isn’t documenting something, which can lead to misinterpretation.
Despite these difficulties, Amy G employs a professional, selfless approach to facing these challenges. Whenever a fan came up to her at the game I attended, she was always very approachable, friendly, and generous, despite being on the job. The only time she wasn’t able to take a picture with a fan was when she was seconds away from delivering a hit, a short in-game report broadcasted on CSNBA from around the ballpark.
Amy G usually delivers four, or sometimes even five, hits per game. Whenever she roams around the ballpark to find the next spot to film a hit, a herd of fans follows her and anxiously awaits their chance to talk to her, even if just for a second. She can walk up to five miles in one single game, and there isn’t one instance in those five miles where she doesn’t get noticed or acknowledged in some way.
Despite all this attention, she is incredibly humble by nature. When talking to Amy, it felt more like re-connecting with an old friend than interviewing a role model of mine. She wasn’t afraid to open up and joke around. We went off on so many tangents while sitting down and talking to each other that I often forget that it was an interview. She put me at ease with her comfortable and friendly presence, and I instantly felt like we’d become friends in little time.
Amy is intelligent, witty, and grounded. She knows who she is and what her role is for the Giants. She’s so respected and trusted in the clubhouse that she gets interviews with players that others might not because of her demeanor and professionalism.
Part of the reason why Amy G has such a great relationship with the players is because of her relationship with Giants’ broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, also known to Giants fans as Kruk and Kuip.
When she first took the job, she said she let some of the criticism get to her, and this made her question if it was all worth it. Kruk and Kuip pulled her aside and told her not to worry about the criticism and that she needed to toughen up.
“They were great. They gave me a pep talk and let me know that they were glad I was here,” Amy G said. “They saved me, over and over and over. They really taught me to stop looking for the negative.”
Kuip relayed the same unconditional support for Amy G that she has for them, and he even claimed that she is like a sister to him.
“The important thing with anybody is, how much does she enjoy having fun doing what she does? Because if she does, that’s what we like to do everyday, then we’re going to have a lot of fun,” Kuip explained. “And she takes it, she dishes it out, and it didn’t take very long for us to figure that this is going to be a good relationship.”
With the support of Kruk and Kuip, Amy G said she has developed a much thicker skin throughout her time with the Giants. Her strength and humility allows her to find balance in her life, which must be difficult at times. Add in at least 40,000 fans who want her attention on a nightly basis, a husband, two kids, a family, and colleagues, and life can get hectic.
It requires much patience, grace, and character to handle a busy lifestyle such as the one that Amy G has. However, she conducts herself with the utmost class and respect.
Finding balance in life is just like scoring a game, taken day by day or play by play. Tasks need to be completed, and plays need to be called correctly. Obstacles can arise or an error can occur, but life goes on and adjustments are made.
To fans, she’s Amy G. To her, she’s just Amy. I was lucky enough to see both sides. With thoughtfulness, creativity, and passion, she consistently finds ways to balance who Amy G is versus who Amy is, even when scoring a game.