Petaluma native Amy Gutierrez is a fourth-generation baseball lover with a great outlet for her passion. She covers the San Francisco Giants for Comcast SportsNet, where her husband Paul Gutierrez works as a sportswriter.
At 39, Gutierrez is trying to pass that affection along to their children, 8 and 5. Her children’s book, “Smarty Marty’s Got Game,” was published this month.
Where did the book idea come from?
In late 2012, I was approached by Cameron + Company, a boutique publishing company in town. There wasn’t much in the area of 6- to 9-year-old reading level children’s books on baseball.
I was interested but didn’t have the time: my grandmother was sick, the team I cover was going to the playoffs. But I kept seeing my grandma and talking with her, and she wanted me to do it.
She passed away after the World Series parade, and I revisited the publisher. I had an idea I could do something that kept her with me.
Martha was my grandmother’s name and she was a baseball guru, so I put that into my character, Smarty Marty. I wrote about her, her love of baseball and her experiences as a young girl. It was cathartic.
The book isn’t based on any one person, but Marty is a combination of my grandma, my mom and me, a mixture of the women in my life who loved baseball.
What makes this such a great place for young baseball players?
The community, even though the town has grown. I still call it a town because there’s something unique and small about Petaluma. You have that connection of people who remain here or come back. I was one who came back.
One of the draws is the local sports programs that get families together. Growing up, it was so special. You’d look forward to your Saturday game: you’d play, compete, see your friends. This town supports athletics.
A reason why people want to move here is because the town is centered on family experiences. You get into a group, make lifelong friends. Every year my parents have an annual brunch with friends they made when my dad coached Little League 35 years ago.
How did you get to be the color reporter for Comcast SportsNet?
I started in television as producer for hard news stories, then got a job with Fox Sports News as a features producer. I was a fan of all sports and got to tell stories about people, and I got to talk about athletes. When a co-worker left unexpectedly, I was asked to fill in on air.
In 2008, Comcast bought Fox and (Giants CEO) Larry Baer wanted a permanent, in-game reporter, and I embarked on the craziest journey of my life. No one had lasted in the position, and there was heavy criticism from the fan base.
Eventually public opinion changed, or quieted down, and I learned not to take it personally. I don’t know what’s in the future. I’m just enjoying the ride. I’m so lucky to be in the mix and can’t believe what this team has accomplished.
What do you do when the team is on the road?
Today I went to Trader Joe’s and stocked the refrigerator. I go right into full time “mom mode” with the kids back in school.
I catch up on errands, do laundry and work on my own business. I handle social media for small and some larger companies. I’ll work out, play competitive soccer, water the yard, and now I have book signings.
Where did the nickname Amer the Gamer come from?
(Giants television announcer) Mike Krukow. I credit him, but Duane Kuiper and his brothers have always called me Amer. Mike sings it to me when I walk in the booth.
Lucchesi Deli offers an Amer the Gamer sandwich, and every time you buy one, a portion of the proceeds help out the Petaluma Educational Foundation.
Is there a secret to staying warm at PacBell Park?
Pocket handwarmers help a lot, but you’re gonna be cold. If your seats are on the arcade, wear layers.
Amy Gutierrez holds a free book-signing party from 3-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at Sova Gardens, 5186 S. Gravenstein Highway, Sebastopol. The family event features ballpark-style food, beer and ice cream. Call 795-4747.