Hawaiians are everywhere, even playing in the World Series
In a few days, Brian Ching is going to be a proud dad.
For now, the retired world-class soccer player from Haleiwa and Kamehameha is a proud uncle, pulling for the New York Mets in the World Series.
“I’d be there, but my wife is going to have a baby any day now. So I’m watching on TV,” said Ching, who lives in Houston where he is managing director of the Houston Dash women’s pro soccer team. He and his wife Charisse are expecting a boy, their first child.
Michael Conforto, the Mets rookie outfielder, is Ching’s nephew.
Conforto’s mother is two-time Olympic gold medal winner in synchronized swimming Tracie Lehuanani Ruiz-Conforto, who was raised mostly on the continent but born in Honolulu. Her husband and Michael’s father is also named Michael. He was a star linebacker at Penn State.
Tracie is Brian’s half sister. Their father is Francis Ching, who passed away in 1992.
When Brian played for the Seattle Sounders in 2001 and 2002, he got to spend time getting to know his sister, and see the early stages of his nephew’s youth baseball career since they lived in Woodinville, Wash.
In 2004, Michael played in the Little League World Series. In Game 1 against the Royals on Tuesday, he became the first baseball player to play in the LLWS, the College World Series (with Oregon State) and the MLB World Series.
“He’s come a long way,” Brian said. “I haven’t got to see him play live yet but have talked to my sister about it. It’s pretty crazy to see. I’m not a big baseball guy, but definitely a proud uncle. To see him make the jump so quickly to the majors. I’ve been following his whole career, when he was drafted a top ten prospect figured he’d make it. He has a great head on his shoulders, and I think that’s really helped him succeed. Especially in a sport that’s very mental and difficult.”
Francis, Brian’s father and Michael’s grandfather, wasn’t into soccer or baseball.
“My dad was a surfer, a beach boy and loved volleyball,” Brian said.
This is the third World Series in a row where the Mets have at least one player of Hawaiian ancestry, or born-and-raised in Hawaii: Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez (1986) and Benny Agbayani (2000) are the others.
Good article Dave. We couldn’t be prouder of our cousins Brian, Tracie and now Michael. Two home runs last night in a World Series game as a rookie. How sick is that!
One correction though, Brian’s wife’s name is Liz. Congratulations to the Ching and Conforto Ohanas.