ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – His career didn’t start out glamorous. Ron Porterfield remembers how his experience as an athletic trainer at New Mexico State led to him getting a job in professional baseball, perfecting his craft.
“It was the summer of 1988. I had one semester of school left and just basically to put some experience on a resume, I figured I was going to go apply for PT school, probably get my master’s and go on,” said Porterfield. “I got hired by the Houston Astros. I went and did it and thought this is pretty cool. They offered me a full-time gig and that was it.”
Porterfield, a former Santa Fe St. Michael’s quarterback, paid his dues with Minor League Baseball. He remembers long bus trips, roach motels, and low pay as part of his journey.
That is before becoming a fixture in the big leagues. Porterfield is the Los Angeles Dodgers Director of Player Health. No more roach motels or long bus trips, but the job is a busy one which requires a lot of his time, especially in a COVID-19 world.
Porterfield has to make sure players are meeting protocols set by MLB to keep everyone safe. “The big thing for me is that I try to create the ability for our medical staff to do their jobs and just take care of the players and take everything else off their plate.”
Porterfield admits he doesn’t get much sleep because of the demands of the job, but the excitement behind all of it keeps him energized. “Ideally I grew up a Dodger fan. Right, you know, The Dukes were in Albuquerque,” said Porterfield. Vacation for us was Disney Land, Knott’s Berry Farm, going to Newport or Laguna Beach, and a Dodger game. Some days I just sit back there and go, man, this little guy from New Mexico has had the opportunity to do this, man, is pretty lucky.”
Porterfield even has experience with the Dodgers opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays. Porterfield worked for the Rays during their trip to the World Series in 2008.
He remembered the experience as a good one because he brought his family with him and still talks to some of the people with the Rays, especially their director of player health, Michael Sandoval, who like Porterfield, is from New Mexico.
Sandoval is from Raton and Porter went to NMSU together in the ’80s. Will there be trash talk? Porterfield said yes. As of this writing, Porterfield was waiting for his old friend to arrive in Arlington, Texas.