Let’s kick this post off with some good news. Congratulations to San Francisco Giants field reporter Amy Gutierrez (Amy G) for adding color commenter to her resume. As announced on Friday, she’ll be a field reporter and analyst with the Sacramento River Cats for their Saturday telecasts on CW Channel 31 in Sacramento.
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with the Sacramento River Cats broadcast team this season as a field reporter and color analyst,” said Gutierrez. “It’s an exciting step forward in my broadcasting career to take on a broader role in calling games. This is a perfect pairing that will serve to enhance my work with the San Francisco Giants as a reporter and host while building a relationship and spotlighting their phenomenal Triple-A club.”
The TV and radio broadcasts of the San Francisco Giants have been a hot topic with my eyes and ears and that’s because it’s clear the team has leaned into an inevitable transition.
Time waits for no one or whatever, and that includes Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper, and Mike Krukow, whose presence on Giants games continues to diminish on the English language broadcasts*. We’re hearing a lot more Joe Ritzo and F.P. Santangelo on the radio, with Javier Lopez, Shawn Estes, and Hunter Pence filling in for Mike Krukow on the TV side for road games when he and Kuiper aren’t simulcasting from the NBC Sports studio.
When I saw the Amy G news, the first thought that came to mind was that she might’ve tried to get into that mix and came up short because of her general “lack” of “experience” being a color commentator (side note: I always thought “commentator” was a malapropism for “commenter” since the job is commenting on the game, but it turns out “commentator” has been in use for sports since at least 1928, and predates that use to the 1640s. I was not aware of that!). That would make this position her attempt to expand her background to become eligible for a future position in the Giants’ booth, whatever the motivation.
There’s only so much time left on the clock with the Giants’ “legacy” trio of Miller, Kuiper, and Krukow, and who knows where things stand with Dave Flemming. In 2019, the team announced a four-year deal with their risen star. Haven’t heard anything this year, though, and while we’re still hearing Dave on broadcasts, I wonder if the team has delayed an announcement for reasons involving a transition plan. He would seem to be The Guy Who Would Replace Jon Miller, a massive mantle to inherit.
Or maybe the Giants just don’t want to make a big deal out of it. There’s been no sign that the team wants him to get away and so it would all come down to how much he would want to stay. At the same time, if there is a transition plan in the works, the timing of its release will be as important as the actual plan.
This might not hold true for 100% of a fanbase, but I choose to believe it matters to a majority of fans: the voice(s) of the team seems about as important as their logo. Stars come and go, but the people who give voice to those performances become ingrained in our minds and become a tiny part of our family. After all, we’re inviting them in to talk about our favorite team.
Joe and F.P. have been switching off play-by-play duties when they’ve done their broadcasts and the impression I get is that Joe is, effectively, Dave Flemming’s understudy while F.P. is Duane’s. We don’t know if this is the group that’ll stick over the next few years, but it sure does seem like every guy is performing with the confidence of someone who’s very close to having the job.
I suppose we’ll know soon enough. In the meantime, we still have Miller, Kruk & Kuip; but the horizon is as close as it's ever been when it comes to the future of Giants broadcasts.
What do you think? Do you like this current mix or do you feel the Giants will cycle through a few more options before settling on a new team in the next few years?
* - Erwin Higueroes and Tito Fuentes are the Spanish-language radio broadcasters, with Marvin Benard taking Tito’s place as color commentator on road games.