I've always been close with my dad. My dad's career in the big leagues with the Astros was short, but how many people can say they actually pitched in the Major Leagues?
I've learned a lot from him over the years. He's always been there for me, including at the All-Star Game this year when he pitched to me during the Home Run Derby in Arizona. I thought it was really cool that the two of us were able to be on the field at the same time.
When I was younger, I would think of the players who were in the Derby before me. I would always think it would be great to do the same thing. With this experience featuring my dad, it's a memory I can now share with my entire family.
On the whole, that All-Star Game experience was great. I like that the All-Star Game has a lot of importance. With the winning league getting home-field advantage in the World Series, it gives meaning to the game. I think it pushes the guys to go all out for the game and creates some tension. It's great.
My dad is probably the biggest reason I started playing baseball and why I've had so much success throughout the years. He's always been there to help me out and give me advice. He never forced baseball on me but allowed me to develop my own game and helped me when I needed it. I talk to him after every game. If I have a bad day, he tells me to keep going and that I should never give up.
My dad was a pitcher who could throw in the 90s and had a good splitter. When he was pitching, there were Dominican players in the league, but nothing like the large number there is today. I am very proud of my dad and what he was able to do.
When we came to America to live full time, he was actually playing baseball in Taiwan. Living in New Jersey as a kid, I was always a Yankees fan. I grew up close to the team and have always liked rooting for them. Why not? They have the most championships and the best players. It's always nice to be with the best.
It was always a dream of mine to play for the Yankees. It's something that I always thought about, but in reality I didn't think it would actually happen. You can dream about it as a kid and imagine what it would be like, but nothing compares to actually fulfilling that dream and being where I am today. I love playing here in front of these great fans. I hope to be here for a long, long time.
One of my favorite moments growing up was being able to go to a Yankees game. I went to one game where Darryl Strawberry hit two home runs. That moment has always stuck in my mind.
Robinson Cano, the 2011 Home Run Derby winner, is having another stellar season. The Yankees' second baseman has driven in 100 runs for the second straight year, and he has also now hit at least 24 homers in each of the past three seasons. His father, Jose, played in six games for Houston in 1989.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.