Alex Rodriguez says strained relationship with his father inspires him to be a better dad (exclusive)

Alex Rodriguez's past is influencing his present.

The former baseball star is putting in overtime when it comes to parenting his kids and being there for girlfriend Jennifer Lopez's children as well -- because his own father wasn't around for a lot of his life.

ET's Kevin Frazier spoke with Rodriguez in Los Angeles on Thursday, where he opened up about his strained relationship with his late father, Victor, and why it fuels him today.

"My father passed about three years ago.. He left us [when I was] 10. And then we reconnected in a four-game series against Minnesota," he recalled. "It was Father's Day weekend, and it was a four-day series and Kev, it was probably the best four games I've played in my career. And it was the only four games he got to watch me play."

Those four games took place in 2000, 10 years after Rodriguez had last seen his father. He heard from him briefly in 1993, but it took several more years before they reconnected enough for Rodriguez's father to attend one of his games. The former baseball superstar hit a home run for the Seattle Mariners, and pointed to his dad in the stands.

"'I'm going to put on a show for you, so you know, Dad, what you walked away from,'" Rodriguez recalled thinking. "Ever since he left me and my family, I always thought, I never want to do that. I want to be a great father, a present father."

These days, A-Rod is busy working as a sports commentator and guest shark on the 10th season of ABC's Shark Tank, and he says being a good dad is still his No. 1 priority. "When I get home, I am the personal assistant to a 13 and a 10-year-old daughter," he said with a laugh.

"I'm a professional Uber driver to all their events and soccer practice and all that," he added. "And I'm focused on killing that job."