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Amy G’s book party

What: The official launch party for Amy Gutierrez’s “Smarty Marty Steps Up Her Game” (Cameron + Company, $13.95), with food and gifts and Amy G in attendance.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8, 2017

Where: Copperfield’s Books, 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma

More information: www.copperfieldsbooks.com

Amy Gutierrez, better known as the San Francisco Giants in-game reporter Amy G, just got back from spending 12 days on the road in late March — first at spring training in Arizona, then in Hawaii on spring break — and the mother of two and wife of sports reporter Paul Gutierrez is facing a re-entry slump.

“We landed yesterday ... my husband slept and then went back to Arizona for NFL meetings,” she said in a phone interview. “There’s no food in the fridge, my daughter Gracie has a fever and my son doesn’t want to go back to school.”

Still, the Petaluma native sounds upbeat as she talks about the release of her second children’s book this week (“Smarty Marty Steps Up her Game,”) and the launch of her 10th season covering the Giants for NBC Sports Bay Area, formerly known as CSN Bay Area,

“The 10 seasons is a big deal for me,” she said. “It officially starts April 2 (today) in Arizona, which I will go to, but I covered a couple of games in spring training last week, and I will do a couple of exhibition games this week.”

This season, Gutierrez will not only broadcast during the game and interview the “Hero of the Game “ (when the Giants win), but she will also serve as a contributing reporter to the both the pre-game and post-game shows. Plus she will cover all the games broadcast by NBC Bay Area and contribute to the MLB Network.

As far as succeeding as a woman in a man’s world, Gutierrez appears to have arrived. And she’s come a long way from her first season covering the Giants back in 2008.

“I was not received well at all ... people would said “Who is this? She’s horrible!’” she recalled. “My first few years, I would know who they (the players) were. Now the young guys know who I am because they watch the games ... I have a little more power on my side. “

Navigating as a female in the male-dominated world of baseball is also the theme of her children’s books, which revolve around a young girl nicknamed Smarty Marty. In “Smarty Marty’s Got Game,” Marty teaches the game to her younger brother, Mikey, sparking his love of the game. In the new book, Smarty Marty serves as official scorekeeper for her brother’s Little League division, then fills in as the announcer.

Gutierrez wrote both books to honor her grandmother, a lifelong baseball fan who was on hospice during the 2012 Giants Championship season but lived to see the team win the World Series that year. Back in 2012, Petaluma publisher Cameron + Company came to Gutierrez and asked her to write a baseball book for kids 6 to 10. It was her grandmother who encouraged her to step up to the plate.

“She said, ‘You’ve got to do that. And I said, ‘Oh really?” Gutierrez recalled. “You are about to go rest forever, and I can’t even get a nap!’” But after her grandmother died in November 2012, Gutierrez decided she would dedicate the book to Martha and name the main character after her.

“It’s like paying it forward,” Gutierrez said. “I went back to Cameron + Company and said ‘I want a character to be a girl and to know everything about baseball, and I want to focus on the educational aspect of the game, which is scoring.’

We asked the 43-year-old Gutierrez — who has been scoring baseball games since she was 4 years old — to talk about the many hats she wears, and how she manages to make all those double and triple plays as mom, sports journalist and book author.

Q: How much of your own life have you used as research for in your children’s books?

A: A lot of Marty is me. A lot of Mikey is my son, Zachary. He’s not really a fan of baseball, but when we score together, he’s much more into it.

Q: After the first book, you created “Smarty Marty’s Official Game Day Scorebook.” What was its purpose?

A: I wouldn’t classify it as a book. It’s a scorebook, and it came off the first book, where you learn the basics of the game and scoring tips .... You can take the scorebook to the game, and it goes into more detail on how to score, with tips and a foreward. There are maybe 25 games in there.

My grandfather saw Babe Ruth, and that’s a big deal to us now. And then to have a scorecard from that game ... That’s what I wanted kids to get out of it. If Buster Posey is catching and Madison Bumgarner is pitching, that’s something that you can keep ... we’re in it now, and we don’t realize the legend that that scorecard is going to have.”

Q: When do you find time to write?

A: I wrote the original book in the off season. The new book I wrote during the season last year. I got to the games early, sat in the dugout, and I would try to knock out as much as I could before I had to get going.

The first book was officially launched in 2013, and the scorebook was launched in 2015. Because we wanted to make this into a series, we wanted to publish every two years.

Q: This book is aimed at slightly older children, ages 8 to 12. Does that reflect the ages of your kids, Zachary, 12, and Gracie, 9?

A: Marty is 10, so that puts me right in the middle of what they’re involved with. They do help, and I’ll ask them, ‘Is this dorky or dated?’ But it also keeps me involved with what’s going on with my kids, and it creates conversation ... at the game and at home. My brother and my dad would pore over the scorecard afterwards. We’re sorely lacking conversation in today’s society, especially with our kids ... we’re always texting or looking at the phone.

Q: What message did you hope to get across to young girls?

A: It’s really about going for it. What is it you want to do? And try not to feel like there are boundaries to that, no matter what society says ... the premise is that Marty gets an opportunity to call a game, and not many girls have done that in life. You do have female broadcasters for women’s sports, but for men’s baseball, there has never been a play-by-play female announcer. You are going to have to keep forcing this until people get used to hearing a female voice in the booth ... you have to make it the new normal.

Marty doesn’t have any fear about what people are going to say, but she does fear whether she can do it or not, and she does get questioned by her own age group. My question is ... why not? Why can’t she do it? We’re not talking about a physical skill. It’s a mental capability, and that’s always an even playing field.

Q: What does your life look like when you are working a home game stand?

A: When I’m on a home stand, it’s every day. But then I get this 10-day break, but I still watch the games and cover the news through social media. When the team goes on the road, that’s when I do marketing for the book, and I also have a social media business with seven clients, and I’m a ghost writer. Next week, I’ve got four events to host for charities ... it never stops.

Q: What does your day look like during a home stand?

A: All your typical mom duties: making dinner, going to the grocery store, making breakfast and when my husband is gone, lunches. I get the kids off to school and try to go to the gym. Working out is a huge part of my life for mental stability and happiness. And for my own children, I’m a role model for exercise and eating healthy.

Around 10:30 a.m., I go into prep mode ... In May and June, I’m able to get a lot of content from the night before. If there was a great play in Thursday’s game, I know I’m going to review that tomorrow and ask one of the guys who made the play, what did he think about it?

I come to every game with about six ‘hit’ ideas — that’s when I’m on camera — that I bring. I leave Petaluma around 1:30 p.m. for a 7:15 game, and I like to pull in no later than 3. I hit the production truck first and meet my producers. We go over my ideas.

And then I try to walk out to the park at 3:30 p.m. ... It’s my favorite time of the day because it’s so quiet and warm still, with the sun still out. That’s when I try to touch base with players for the hit ideas.

From 3:30 to 7 p.m. when the broadcast starts, I’m literally picking off players for hit ideas, reaction, interviews, a web thing or something for our magazine show.

Q: So you’re not just hanging around watching at batting practice, right?

A: People really don’t understand how much work goes into it. ... There’s so much that goes on. I work with the best in the business ... and they are an extended family.

Then the game happens, and I walk around the stadium the whole time. I watch the game, I’ve got the broadcast in my ear, I’m keeping scores, and I’m visiting with fans. I will sign my books if they have them.

We try to keep my hits to even innings — 2, 4, 6, and 8. But you don’t know what’s going to happen in 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 ... there’s a lot of improv and OK, you’re going to go on, after the first batter of the second inning. Then he hits a home run or if there’s a double play that will get replayed. So there’s a lot of hurry up and wait. We pop up, and then we go back down. I tell people that I’m working on my squats.

It’s a live event, and anything can happen. You can’t predict it, and I love that. I never know what I’m going to talk about. It keeps you on your toes.

Q: What are you hopes for this season?

A: It’s a season of transition. The team I used to cover in 2008 looks a lot different from 2017, but the core of those guys have won World Championships, and some of them have won three ... and then the bullpen is going to look a lot different. It’s totally revamped.

The Giants have this uncanny ability to find chemistry within their players. And I love to watch how this guy is going to fit, and what he’s going to bring to the chemistry. When they brought Jake Peavy in 2014, he had that fiery attitude, and Buster Posey has the quiet leadership. Peavy is gone now, so who does that?

The closer — Mark Melancon — is going to add a lot. That was their biggest problem last year. They didn’t have a closer, and the bullpen is run off established roles ...as soon as your closer caves, it’s a domino effect. You watch that trickle down and affect every part of the game.

I think the success that Buster and Brandon Crawford and Meloncon had in the world Baseball Classic is super exciting. The U.S. won for the first time, and it’s huge ... so I’m very curious to see if that’s going to be a great adrenaline boost, or will they peter out early in September?

I think it’s going to be a fun season, and it’s time to start some odd-year magic and make a new trend.

Q: What is it like living in your hometown of Petaluma?

A: If you’re from here, then you ... see so many things that are still the same. But there are so many more people, parking is a problem, and it takes 25 minutes to get across town when it used to take 6. Those things are annoying.

But there’s still a very small town vibe here. So many people have returned or stayed, so you have this core community. And that’s good and bad. But I love my hometown, and I really believe when you have a family, it takes a village. My parents are around the corner, and my best friends from growing up are here. If I need help, I can call them.”

Staff writer Diane Peterson can be reached at 521-5287 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @dianepete56.

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