Sweet-swinging Mets outfielder Michael Conforto's No. 1 fan is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in synchronized swimming. His mom, Tracie. For Mother's Day, the 24-year-old budding star paid tribute to the person who instilled in him a sense of “pride ...and more »
Sweet-swinging Mets outfielder Michael Conforto’s No. 1 fan is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in synchronized swimming.
His mom, Tracie.
For Mother’s Day, the 24-year-old budding star paid tribute to the person who instilled in him a sense of “pride and work ethic.”
The former Tracie Ruiz in 1988AP“She always told me to obsess over whatever it is you’re doing,” said Conforto.
The former Tracie Ruiz won gold medals in solo and synchronized swimming at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and a solo silver in Seoul in 1988.
She also gets a gold medal in parenting.
“She was the one driving me from soccer practice to football practice and hitting late at night — and then making dinner,” the ballplayer recalled.
The Mets’ leadoff hitter starred in baseball and football at Redmond High School in Washington state. He played shortstop on the baseball team and quarterback and safety for the football squad.
But his parents were just as proud that he made honor roll.
“They made [academics] very important,” he recalled. “I wasn’t allowed to do what I wanted to do unless I had my grades.
“And when you’re studying you’re not out with your friends getting in trouble . . . It keeps you in the right group of people and focused on the right things,” he said.
To this day, Conforto’s mom sends him daily texts of encouragement and inspiration.
After Conforto hit a home run against the Marlins on April 9 in a 5-2 Mets win, Tracie texted: “Prime time ESPN ambush homerun bomb … so smart … patience and power … enjoy the constant pursuit of being even better … congrats love momma.”
Conforto’s response: “Thanks momma. Love and miss you ♥ .”
Three days later, Conforto went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and three runs scored in the Mets’ 5-4 win over the Phillies. The proud mom texted: “So proud of your focus and work … you deserve the crown :) celebrate and then seek to be better:) ♥ .”
Sometimes the texts are simply a reminder to hydrate, one athlete to another.
Tracie, 54, told The Post her very first text was when Michael left home for Oregon State. It read: “Michael, the pitchers you are going to face in your very first year in college are going to have no idea who you are.”
“Texting has been fantastic,” she said. “It’s putting your kid in a positive mental frame and keeping it fun.”
Conforto told The Post his mom can expect “a mixture of pink, red and white flowers and a box of Godiva chocolates” today.
He revealed that prior to the start of each game he says “a little prayer for my entire family right at the end of the National Anthem. A quick thanking for my blessings and my wonderful family and pray to keep them safe. There will be a little extra one for my mom on Mother’s Day.”
Tracie noted that Michael didn’t grow up seeing trophies around the house — just family photos.
“The thing I love most about Michael is he’s respectful to his teammates, coaches and the game. He’s humble, enjoys the game and continues to work hard,” she said.
With Mother’s Day sharing the same date on the calendar as Derek Jeter’s number-retirement ceremony, Conforto made a confession.
“Mets fans are probably not going to like this, I know,” he said, but aside from his mom, Jeter is his role model.
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