Aggies come home to talk about their sports books

By From page B1 | November 29, 2013

Amy Gutierrez and Dan Brown — a couple of former Aggies who have made their marks in Bay Area media — return to Davis on Saturday, Dec. 7, to promote their recent books.

First, at 1 p.m. at The Avid Reader on Second Street, the pair will talk about Brown’s “100 Things 49ers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” and Gutierrez’s children’s book “Smarty Marty’s Got Game.”

Then, before the UC Davis men’s basketball game against Nevada, Gutierrez and Brown will be on hand at 6 p.m. at The Pavilion.

In both appearances, the authors will be available to sign copies of their books.

Gutierrez has evolved from a behind-the-camera producer to an important voice (and face) as the in-game reporter on San Francisco Giants broadcasts.

She grew up in the Bay Area, rooting for both local major league baseball teams. Since her 1995 graduation from UCD, Gutierrez has produced features for Stanford sports, the San Jose Sharks, Oakland Raiders, San Jose SaberCats, A’s and now the Giants.

Brown is the San Jose Mercury-News’ sports feature writer and, after graduation from UCD in 1992, was the sports editor of this very newspaper.

I had a chance to catch up with both this week …

So what was the inspiration for Gutierrez’s illustrated kids’ book?

“My grandma Martha,” the new author explains. “I’ve dedicated the book to her because she loved baseball more than anyone I knew.”

Martha, er, Marty died last year, but her love of the game lives on in her granddaughter’s book.

Marty — known at school as “Smarty” because of her baseball knowledge — works to get her little brother excited about the national pastime.

Marty takes Mikey to a game and finally gets his attention, using the game’s many facets and twists to teach some life lessons along the way.

Soon Mikey becomes a big fan and is right there with Marty cheering on their favorite team.

Gutierrez says she “backed into being on camera.” As a producer with the A’s, she became a guest reporter giving updates and injury reports on an Oakland TV broadcast.

The response was positive and Gutierrez began doing double duty, working as producer and presenter.

After 20 years in broadcast journalism, Gutierrez has spent much time telling children that it’s OK to support various teams without getting in another fan’s face, or being violent.

Gutierrez was deeply saddened by last year’s rivalry killing just blocks away from the Giants’ AT&T Park.

“It’s OK to like different teams,” Gutierrez says is a theme of her classroom visits. “People need to remember they all like baseball … that’s the common thread. It’s not about different colors or teams.

“You just don’t have to be so serious about it.”

“Smarty Marty’s Got Game” is published by Cameron & Co.

As for Brown’s effort …

“You’re talking about one of the most storied franchises in sports history. You could make the case that the greatest quarterback (Joe Montana), the greatest receiver (Jerry Rice), the greatest safety (Ronnie Lott) and the greatest coach (Bill Walsh) all played for the same team — at the same time,” Brown points out.

With Brown’s background covering San Francisco, he had frequent opportunities to speak with 49ers of the 1980s and “was blown away by where the bar was set — Super Bowl or bust.”

“All the players aimed for perfection, even on the practice field … and there was a lot of accountability in the locker room,” Brown said. “Players policed each other.”

While “100 Things …” is a must-read for 49er fanatics, it is aimed at a general audience.

“Everybody knows Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, so I looked for fun stuff from behind the scenes rather than just rehashing the old stories everybody knows,” Brown told me.

Sure, he has plenty of statistics in the book, but he says the emphasis is on defining moments “as told by players themselves.”

Tight end Russ Francis sheds light on Washington Redskin defensive end Dexter Manley’s feud with Walsh.

He talks to Montana about his consideration of a 1986 retirement.

Lott tells a story about watching rookie Rice break down in tears after a horrible game.

“When I saw that, I knew we had somebody special,” Lott says in the book. “It’s the guys who don’t care that you worry about.”

Brown’s Triumph-published book also sends fans who want 49er-style workouts to The Hill on which RB Roger Craig and Rice used to get in condition — or, like I prefer, you’ll locate the spot where Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds went for his Tabasco-slathered, postgame cheeseburgers.

Just to get a chance to chat with Amy and Dan is worth a trip to The Avid Reader or The Pavilion on Dec. 7.

—Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Bruce Gallaudet

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