"I have more patience than I thought I had," Porter said of his first year. Patience was a necessary ingredient to survive a season like 2013.
That tough first year didn't dampen his enthusiasm or desire.
"I think we all have to challenge ourselves to get better," he said. "I think I evaluate myself harder than anyone else. I try to get better every day. How I managed the game, how I managed our players."
Porter first became a manager in 2006 when he led Jamestown (N.Y.) of the New York-Penn League. He served as a coach in the Majors with Arizona as well as Washington.
"I will always try to improve," he said. "When you stop learning, it's time for you to get out of the game."
Porter, consistently pleasant with the media, managed to keep smiling whether his Astros won or lost.
"Even last year, one of the things I stressed to myself was the value of an out, also the next 90 feet," he said. "The role it plays into the next play. An extra 90 feet can change a game."
Porter always thought like a manager throughout his playing career, which included stints with the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A's and Texas Rangers from 1999-2001.
"I've always played the game in its entirety," he said of thinking like a manager when he was still a player. "This isn't the first time I thought about the entire game. When I was put into that [manager's] chair, the thought process had already been in use."
Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.