Carlos Olivas’ climb to Triple-A baseball has taken quite a while.
Consider that the 38-year-old is in his eighth season in the Texas Rangers organization, and he spent eight in the Los Angeles Dodgers chain beforehand.
Even so, the Santa Fe native’s major league dreams are very much alive. Olivas doesn’t have to count on speed or hitting to get him to the next level; he’s the athletic trainer for the Round Rock Express.
It’s pleasant duty for Olivas this week with the Express playing a four-game series at Isotopes Park. Olivas, his wife and their two daughters make their home in Albuquerque.
Still, prior to Saturday’s series opener, Olivas hadn’t worked a game in the city since he was an intern with the Dukes in 1999 and 2000.
“It’s awesome being here,” Olivas said prior to Round Rock’s 6-3 victory over Albuquerque at Isotopes Park. “I get to sleep in my own bed and I actually gave my daughters a ride to school today. I’m not used to this.”
Olivas graduated from St. Michael’s High School in 1996 and went on to get a degree in athletic training at UNM. He played basketball, soccer and golf for the Horsemen (not baseball) but discovered a career path in sports only after suffering an injury.
“I loved sports but I didn’t have the talent to play beyond high school,” Olivas said. “Seemed like a perfect solution.”
Olivas worked as a student intern with UNM’s men’s basketball team in 1998-99 and parlayed his Dukes internship into a job with Dodgers organization. He worked with the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp in the minor leagues but moved to the Texas organization in 2009.
This season is Olivas’ first with a Triple-A club and the highlight may have come Sunday. A family wedding over the weekend coincided with Red Rock’s series in Albuquerque, which in turn brought a large cheering section to Isotopes Park — for the Express trainer.
“We had everyone here,” Olivas said with a grin. “Family, friends, you name it. I had to get about 50 tickets, but it was a blast.”
Olivas likes the idea of regular-season visits to Albuquerque but says athletic trainers have at least one thing in common with professional baseball players.
“I’m hoping to get a shot at the big leagues,” he said. “That’s the goal for pretty much everyone in this business.”
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