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Colby bests Cory in Rasmus family face-off

Seventh-inning double marks first matchup of brothers since 2010

Special to

TORONTO -- Father always knows best. Just ask the Rasmus brothers.

Colby Rasmus and younger brother Cory spent their childhood dreaming of playing in the big leagues. And so their dad, Tony Rasmus, pushed them like a boot camp instructor in order to help his kids realize their dream. He pushed them to the point where some, he said, questioned if what he was doing was right.

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On Monday at Rogers Centre, Tony didn't need to say anything. All he had to do was point to each clubhouse for proof that what he did worked for his family. The Rasmus brothers faced each other for the first time in a meaningful game -- having always played together growing up -- and they did it at the Major League level.

The first battle was won by older brother Colby, who slashed an opposite-field double off Atlanta's Cory in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Blue Jays' 9-3 victory.

It was the first time brothers faced each other since June 13, 2010, when Jered Weaver and Jeff Weaver squared off.

"It was still awesome," Cory said. "Me facing him -- that was a lot of fun. It just [stinks] that he got a hit."

Tony and his youngest son, Cyle, who were in attendance for the game, admitted it wasn't easy watching the two battle one another.

"I was sick to my stomach," Tony said.

In a sense, Colby was, too.

"It was a strange feeling," Colby said. "A lot of emotions going on. It was awesome and terrible at the same time."

The big damage off Cory came from Edwin Encarnacion, who hit a three-run homer in the seventh. While it helped his team pad its lead, Colby was conflicted.

"I'm not going to lie, my gut kind of wrenched up a little bit," Colby said.

Before their memorable showdown, the two brothers and Tony reflected on a life devoted to baseball.

Cory, a right-handed reliever, made his Major League debut on May 22, while Colby is in his fifth year in the big leagues. As kids, and all throughout high school, their father coached them, pushed them, and rubbed some observers the wrong way in the process. Tony had them lifting weights before they graduated elementary school, and only demanded one thing from his sons once they expressed their desire to be professional ballplayers.

"I would have had problems as a father if they didn't work hard. I tried to work them to death," Tony said prior to Monday night's contest. "What is normal? I don't really apologize for all the stuff we did.

"People can sit on the outside and say you were too hard. Both of them are in the big leagues, I don't know what we did wrong. You don't have a second chance. If we erred, we erred on the side of working hard."

The brothers agree. They admit it wasn't always easy, but they understood their father knew what he was talking about and only had their best interests in mind.

"The talent came from him, he taught us all the skills we have today," Cory said. "He put a lot of time and effort in himself, it wasn't just our time and effort, it was his, too. He put so much time and effort to do everything he could to make us better.

"As happy as I am for myself, I'm also happy that he's proud and he has both of us. And he can be like, 'You know what, all that time they hated me, doing all this stuff, it paid off' because we are both here being able to live our dream."

Tony said Colby leaned on him a bit more than Cory did, but he put them both through the wringer -- teaching them the game when they wanted to learn, and probably at times when they wanted to take a breather, too.

"There is no chance we would be here without him," Colby said. "He spent hours throwing to us and hitting us ground balls. I don't even know how many hours."

Tony knew firsthand what it would take to help his sons graduate to the highest level after playing three years in the Minor Leagues, but never advancing past Class A ball. He believed in order to get the most out of his sons, he would have to be the person he never had, but always wanted.

"I never had a dad," Tony said. "I always felt like I wish I had a dad that pushed me, because my mom always patted me on the back and told me how great I was. I didn't need that. I needed somebody to help me work a little harder, because I didn't have a great work ethic and I got left behind."

It's ironic how it all turned out. Tony said Colby was a "dominant" pitcher growing up, while Cory was the better hitter.

"Colby couldn't dream to hit like him," Tony said.

But Cory was forced to take up pitching after a string of injuries derailed his hitting days.

There is so much more both players want to achieve in this game, but Colby said it's important to remember at times how far he has made it, and his brother, too. When he got the word his younger brother was being summoned to Atlanta, Colby said he got "chill bumps."

"In this game, as players, I know myself, sometimes I get caught up in the daily routine of trying to do better, instead of sometimes taking a step back and say, 'Man, I made it here,'" Colby said.

Not just Colby, they all made it.

"For me, it's a sense of fulfillment," Tony said. "You set out on this journey way back to reach this point and to see both of them reach it, it's a pretty big deal to know that they were determined to get here.

"To have a chance to have both of them on the same field is really pretty sweet."

Chris Toman is a contributor to

Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Cory Rasmus, Colby Rasmus