During the first week of November 2010, there were hundreds of UC Davis students and alumni celebrating. But there was one former Aggie working harder than ever.
On the first day of the 11th month of 2010, the San Francisco Giants won their first World Series title since moving to the City by the Bay in 1958. Two days later, 500,000 rabid fans packed downtown San Francisco to celebrate the newly christened champs in a ticker-tape parade.
This unique opportunity allowed Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area Giants TV reporter and UC Davis alumna Amy Gutierrez to do what she loves most – talk to the world champions off the field.
“I enjoy being able to have access to players and coaches to answer questions I’m interested in,” said Gutierrez, a 1995 UC Davis graduate. “People sometimes lose connections to the players because they live in world we can’t relate to. I try to take human aspects of players and bring it to the fans.”
Gutierrez, or Amy G as she is commonly referred to, said the parade was the perfect opportunity to do just this. She added that she doesn’t try to present herself as a baseball expert, but rather interviews players and coaches from a sports fan’s perspective.
Gutierrez’s passion for sports began during her time at UC Davis. The Petaluma, Calif. native played one year of Aggie volleyball and countless intramural sports.
“I loved my time at Davis,” Gutierrez said. “It was a real college town centered around the school and students. Everything was accessible and doable.”
Along with participating in numerous sports, Gutierrez also played the flute in the concert band and traveled to Washington, D.C. to where she worked for a local news station. Throughout her time as an Aggie, Gutierrez knew she wanted to be a TV reporter.
She graduated in 1995 with a degree in communication. Following several years as a producer, Gutierrez landed a job in Los Angeles as a freelance TV reporter for Fox Sports. Eventually, Gutierrez moved to Northern California to work for Fox Sports Bay Area. After Comcast Sportsnet purchased Fox Sports, Gutierrez was offered the position of a field reporter for Giants’ games. She accepted the job, but only on one condition.
“I wanted total content control,” she said. “I didn’t want to just be a salesperson. I used my production and writing skills to really enjoy the job.”
Total control is what she got. During her tenure, Gutierrez has reported on a 72-win team turn into a 92-win team, a two-time Cy Young Award Winner, a Rookie of the Year and a Commissioner’s Trophy for a World Series championship team. None of these moments, however, top her list.
“My favorite interview was [pitcher] Jonathan Sanchez after his no-hitter [on July 10, 2009],” Gutierrez said. “It was his first start since being sent to the bullpen and first start with his dad watching. It was such a big moment for him and all the pieces came together. He performed miraculously.”
Along the same lines, her favorite person to interview isn’t might surprise most fans. The obvious answer would be the outgoing, bearded closer Brian Wilson, a man Gutierrez calls one of the hardest workers she’s ever seen. Rather, her favorite player to talk to is just another member of the ragtag Giants.
“My favorite player to talk to is [middle reliever] Jeremy Affeldt,” Gutierrez said. “He’s always thoughtful and funny in what he says. “[Centerfielder] Andres Torres is also a great guy to talk to. He is one of the nicest people in the world.”
Both Affeldt and Torres were members of the “Band of Misfits” that won a world championship. As magical as the season was for Giants’ fans, Gutierrez didn’t really have a chance to soak it in until the year was over.
“I was working really hard all season so I didn’t really have an opportunity to enjoy it all,” she said. “They did clinch all the playoff games on the road, so I got to watch those games from a fan’s perspective. It was incredible.”
As much fun as it was to cover the world champions, Gutierrez acknowledges there are some she faces as a female sports reporter.
“Sure, at times it can be difficult or uncomfortable,” she said. “The players know me and respect me almost like an older sister or aunt. Sure, I see the players naked, but as long as I’m professional about it, I don’t get bothered.”
Gutierrez said Joan Ryan, from the Giants’ media relations department, is somewhat a mentor to her. According to Gutierrez, Ryan is always accessible for a chat.
Gutierrez is entering arguably her most important season with the Giants. No longer is she reporting on just another team; she’s reporting on the world champions.
Gutierrez, who still lives in Northern California and makes regular visits to campus, said she only has one guarantee for the upcoming season.
“This team will have a lot of fun.”
JASON ALPERT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.