Tony Rasmus goes to Toronto, talks St. Louis

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Tony Rasmus, the father of Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus, was an endless source of intrigue and entertainment for the St. Louis media during the two-plus years that his son spent with the Cardinals.

And now the Toronto press is getting a taste.

The elder Rasmus made his first-ever appearance at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon, joining 12 other dads of Blue Jays players in a pregame Father’s Day celebration before taking in the team’s 6-2 win over the Phillies in a reserved box along the right field line.

Tony Rasmus also spent a little time with John Lott of the National Post, discussing topics that revolved primarily around last year’s eight-player blockbuster trade between the Jays and Cardinals, and the events leading up to it. We’ll attempt to package the craziness into easily-digested bites, but Lott’s entire interview transcript is worth perusing.

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Tony Rasmus on his first visit to Toronto:

I was lucky enough to have my passport ready. My wife still hasn’t got hers. When they called and invited me up, I had to go over and say, ‘I’m sorry, baby, you don’t have your passport; I’ve got mine, so I’m going to have to go ahead and leave you here.’ She called me a thousand times. You know, ‘be careful, be careful walking around, that’s a big town.’

On why things went south at the end of Colby’s run with the Cardinals:

Looking back on it, maybe the fact that he was such a big prospect and they expected him to be Albert Pujols in St. Louis and not too many people are going to be Albert Pujols. Maybe the expectations they had for him were just hard for him to live up to. Maybe that pressure just wore him down. Obviously Tony wore on him a little bit, but Tony’s a Hall of Fame manager, you know. Maybe everybody can’t play for him.

On how things played out the week the trade was finalized:

Some stuff came out in the [St. Louis] newspaper that wasn’t accurate from Tony and we called [Colby’s] agent and said, ‘Man, he’s not going to keep saying all that stuff without somebody responding to it, so y’all need to get him out of there.’ That was about the way it went. So whenever they called and told me [about the trade], I was dancing the jig around the house. I called [Colby] first thing and he was like, ‘That’s an answer to a prayer. Thank goodness.’ Everything since that day has been absolutely awesome here.

We’ve been happy ever since the trade.

On the active role he’s played in Colby’s career — a point of contention in St. Louis:

My involvement’s really basically a batting-practice pitcher. It’s not like I get in there and go, ‘Hey, move your hands up here, do this.’ I’m not really a technical [coach]. But the fact is, I’m 46, but I can still throw about 90. So I can back up 60 feet and throw BP versus having to soft-toss to him. And I can throw breaking balls and changeups and that kind of stuff.

And obviously Colby had a hard time [in St. Louis]. I always told Colby, ‘Don’t mention my name, let me go ahead and throw to you, man, and go in the newsapapers and say Mark McGwire is my man, he’s the reason I’m hitting.’ But he don’t know how to lie and I think that’s a key to making it in this business, being able to not tell the truth a lot of the time.

To summarize: Colby Rasmus isn’t a good liar. And Tony Rasmus throws 90 mph with pinpoint control.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.