My Story of Me and My Dad and A Challenge to All Fathers in the World

I have to admit, this day has completely lost its meaning for me as the years go by. But it’s not that Father’s Day is just another Sunday, it’s a day of bitterness, anger, and regret for me. For many other people, I am sure it is the same.

For the past eight years, I haven’t had a dad to celebrate Father’s Day. Not because he passed on, but because he doesn’t care about me. First off, my parents divorced in 2000, afterwards my sister and I would stay at his house every other weekend. He lived in Ocean City, NJ in the spring/summer and Woodbury, NJ in the fall/winter.

When I was 10, he met this woman named Peggy and moved in with her, so I then started going over her house with him on the weekends. Eventually, I became sick of it as my dad started drinking more than he ever did and often would smack me in the face for the most ridiculous things. It was then I decided to stop staying with him for a bit; I was almost 12 at the time and in 6th grade. Later I decided to call him and make amends, but he would never pick up or call back.

Four years later, when I was 16, my aunt Ellen and grandmother got my dad to talk to me one day. When I saw him I was shocked at the fact he had completely white hair and was more overweight than he was. He seemed very sincere and regretful of all that happened. I thought we had made amends after and gave him my cell number, asking him to call me to try to get together again. He never did. I only saw him once after when he dropped in when I was visiting my grandmother when I was 17. Since he’s been estranged from many of our relatives.

It was then I realized that not only does he not really care for me. He’s a coward. He continues to run away from the biggest mistake of his life. Frankly, I don’t pity him.

The last seven or eight years have made me bitter. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. I’ve become more angry and sometimes miserable ever since I was estranged from my dad. I’m not trying to use it as an excuse, it’s just how it is. I just blame myself for what happened. But it has inspired me to become a better man and eventually a better father than him, and that keeps me going whenever I’m down.

I know I’m not the only one who has this kind of story. I’ve met other kids who have been estranged from their dads and I can tell it’s affected them deep, like myself. Honestly, I feel that no person should have to grow up without either parent. Both of them will always be the most important people in your life, no matter what.

So, I challenge all my fellow men of this world: Please, guys. If you’re going to have kids, don’t pretend it’s a mistake. Don’t run away from this. Make sure the time is absolutely right to have a child. A child is the imprint of your own seed and DNA. Be the man you have the potential to be. Be strong for your woman and be an inspiration and role model for your children. Don’t create more stories like mine and others’.

Happy Father’s Day to the true, honest, and loving dads of this world. Any fool can be a father, but only a true man can be a dad.

– Brandon Mauk

The New York Yankees have entered limbo.

I was born in the year 1994, the year of the MLB players’ strike, the year the Rangers broke a 54 year drought, the year Kurt Cobain died, the year the Knicks were a mere shot and a game away from winning a ring, the year the whole OJ Simpson fiasco occurred. Most of all, it was the year the New York Yankees showed some signs of returning to relevance after a 13 year dormancy.

Since then, the Yankees have missed the playoffs just once, never finished with a losing record, won 13 division titles, seven AL pennants, and five World championships. Any fan of any team would love to have that kind of success. But with this franchise and the former late owner who ran it with an iron fist until his death in 2010, you expected more.

Now, I don’t know what to expect from a team who all I expected was winning it all. After surviving a late season collapse and five game series with a team full of mediocrity, after proceeding to get completely embarrassed by the same team that beat the year before, they have not built themselves to be a team that expects to win and win and take home the Commissioner’s Trophy.

No, they’re a team in limbo. A team that has duped the press and its loyal fanbase by pretending to be that same team that set the example that anything less than first is a waste. They did absolutely nothing to improve on an embarrassment in the League Championship Series. They blamed this on a luxury tax despite the fact they generate more revenue than any other sports team in the world by their cable network ALONE. Instead they went out and got a collection of overpaid wash-ups like Vernon Wells and Kevin Youkilis while refusing to go within to solve the problems with youth. They went into the season with a lineup of Eduardo Nunez, who is good at very little and erratic at just about everything at SS/3B,  a “platoon” at catcher between Francisco Cervelli, a minor leaguer, and journeyman Chris Stewart, Ben Francisco as the DH against LHP, a washed up Ichiro as a corner outfielder, and Jayson Nix (.219 career hitter) as the Opening Day 3B.

They have done absolutely nothing to improve the franchise from within. The top prospects that they have had come up in the last few years have flamed out not because of lack of talent, but because of complete incompetence and mis-handlement by this organization. When faced with a complete lack of rotation depth two seasons ago, they went with has-beens Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia rather than give Joba Chamberlain, who they have completely ruined starting back in 2009, another shot. Last year, they traded away their best prospect since Derek Jeter for an overweight pitcher who blew out his shoulder and still has yet to throw a pitch for this club.

This year, they’ve had all of us fooled with that 30-18 start. They were completely dominated in four games by one of the worst teams in baseball, they got dominated at home yet again by their arch nemesis with first place on the line. But now, this is the breaking point. They not only just got completely dismantled and outlasted by a team that was better than them, they looked completely inept. In this latest loss, their 4-7 hitters, who make a combined $57.5 million, combined to go 0-28 with 12 strikeouts as the offense scored zero runs in the last 17 innings of the game and the whole team left a combined 30 runners on base, the most in a single game in franchise.

The team is now averaging 3.94 runs per game, their worst run pace in 23 years. Quite frankly, this team has become nearly unwatchable at this point. They are not good enough to win the championship, and they won’t end up being bad enough to do a complete rebuild. Not yet at least. They are in limbo right now.

Where is the heart? There is none. The days of the Core Four and the Lords of the Five Rings are over. Jorge Posada has been gone. Mariano Rivera is hanging it up this year (BTW, this has been a great send off for this team). Andy Pettitte has been great since coming out of retirement last year but you know his final one will be soon. The Captain, the heart, soul, and face of this franchise for the past 17 years, has yet to return, and it will probably be all for naught. It is clear as day: This 18 year run by the New York Yankees is coming to a close. The organization has brought it on themselves. Don’t be fooled by this team’s success so far this season. Unless something changes soon, it’s all trending downwards from here.

The ownership, in contrast to their father, cares very little about winning. That is also clear given the pitiful attempts to improve and reboot this team. They only care about making money. Why else would they keep the ticket prices for the new Yankee Stadium so high, thus alienating the true fans and attracting only the wealthy, casual fans who text on their phones in the 9th inning. They try to make it seem they have tried to improve the team by accumulating the highest payroll in baseball history, constructed only by albatross contracts, the biggest belonging to that fallen hero Alex Rodriguez who honestly should never play another game for this team.

How can any fan take this ownership and general management seriously anymore? Clearly this franchise is a chicken with its head chopped off. A franchise with no direction as it tries to transit from one era to another. As a life-long fan who buys all the memorabilia, merchandise, hats, shirts, and jerseys I can afford as well as go to as many games as I can, I feel cheated.

If the Steinbrenner brothers are truly committed to building a championship caliber and not full of it, it’s time to completely rebuild. If this means letting Robinson Cano walk instead of handing him a ridiculous 8-10 year deal, so be it. This run was built over the course of five years by Gene Michael after George Steinbrenner was suspended by the Commissioner. He drafted Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte. He signed Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. He traded for Paul O’Neill. He had a clear vision for this franchise, and this team needs someone like him to do the same for this team.

The Yankees are desperate. Desperate to resurrect the flame of the dynasty and are only fooling themselves. The vultures are circling. It’s time for change.

Mark Teixeira and Andy Pettitte Could Be the Yankees’ Two Most Important Players

The Yankees came off their worst stretch of the season last week: The Rays lit up CC Sabathia, the Mets completely swept the Yankees in an embarrassing four game set, and the Red Sox yet again took another series in the Bronx. 

On Monday night, it seemed their fortunes began to turn around. Long-time veteranAndy Pettitte made his return from a temporary DL stint and also freshly returned first baseman Mark Teixeira made his statement.

Teixeira lifted collected his first HR of the season in just his fourth game, a grand slam that just got over the short porch in right off of Indians ace Justin Masterson. The next day he hit another homer, a three run shot, from the right-handed side of the plate against Scott Kazmir.

On Thursday in Seattle he followed Robinson Cano’s three run homer with a solo shot of his own. Despite having just six hits in 36 ABs on the season, four of them are for extra bases. He also has four walks in 40 appearances at the plate. 

Pettitte was sharp early on but couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, surrendering four runs in Monday’s win. On Saturday in Seattle he was much better: seven and a third innings, three hits, one run, zero walks and six strikeouts. All on 85 pitches. He probably could have at least finished off the eighth if Girardi didn’t have a short leash on him given the injury. 

That win on Saturday was Andy’s 250th of his career. At the same time, the Yankees drafted his son Josh out of high school in the 2013 MLB Draft. Although Josh still plans on playing at Baylor, it’s a great gesture by the organization to one of it’s greatest and classiest players.

Right now, Andy’s importance to this Yankee team continues to be understated. If they want to make the playoffs, they need him to be healthy and have him continue to dazzle. So far, he is 5-3 with a 3.82 ERA and a 108 ERA+ in 61.1 innings. Can’t really ask for any more consistency out of your 41 year old No. 3 starter. 

In Pettitte’s last three seasons with the Yanks (2010, 2012-2013), Pettitte is 21-10 with a 3.29 ERA and a 128 ERA+. However, he has often been hit with injuries. Limiting him to just 265.2 combined innings over those three seasons.

In 2010, he missed two months in the second half with a groin injury. The Yankees would struggle and lose the division to the Rays as with his absence CC Sabathia was the team’s only consistent starter in the second half. Pettitte returned that year to pitch well in two postseason starts against the Twins and Rangers.

 

In 2012, Pettitte again was pitching some of his best innings of his career, but was again knocked out for over two months due to a freak injury. He broke his ankle on a comebacker but returned in September and pitched well in two playoff starts (again) against the Orioles and Tigers

Again the No. 3 starter, but this time on a team filled with injuries, the Yankees will need Pettitte to be healthy this season. If he continues to be this consistent, it’ll help the Bronx Bombers. 

Teixeira, on the other hand, hasn’t been entirely as consistent as Pettitte’s been. Since joining the Yanks in 2009 with an eight year deal, his averages have declined every season. With the injuries to other hitters (Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and twice to Curtis Granderson), his health is also very important. Having him in the lineup everyday again will help Robinson Cano, who is four for his last 30. 

Not only does Tex need to be healthy, but he needs to start hitting. The Yankees are currently 8th in the AL in runs scored and 13th in the league in OPS+. They are currently on pace to score just 648 runs, their worst output since 1990 (Not counting 1994, that is). However, given that guys like Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Ben Francisco, David Adams, Reid Brignac, and other washed-up vets or scrubs have been given regular at-bats, that should be no surprise.

That’s where Teixeira comes in. As he and Kevin Youkilis are getting back in the groove, Overbay, Brignac, and Adams will be either getting less and less at-bats or off the team. But if the Yankees are going to stay in the AL East race, they will need to start mashing the ball. It starts with Teixeira. 

Mark Teixeira needs to carry the offense and Andy Pettitte needs to help lead the pitching staff. Right now, they are probably the two most important players for yourNew York Yankees