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A former working colleague of mine spent five days in Minneapolis, helping the company that designed Target Field stage a number of events in advance of Tuesday night's Major League All-Star Game. In a central Minneapolis business and entertainment district, located just a block from the stadium that honored two former Huskers, my friend stumbled onto what he calls a sign of the times – a Nebraska football banner hanging above and right next to two signs advertising Lyon’s Pub, a sports eatery on Sixth Street. My friend just couldn’t resist. A UMKC graduate with ties to two former Big 12 Conference schools, White entered Lyon’s Pub and found another interesting sight that he calls above the bar – a Minnesotans for Nebraska banner, welcoming Husker fans from near and afar.
Familiar Place for UNL Alumni, NU Department of Athletics
“Found you a hangout in downtown Minneapolis, buddy…good food and good fun,” Bob White emailed me. The director of international marketing for a Kansas City-based company, White changed careers from telecommunications to sponsorships and stadiums 18 years ago. With a grasp of design research, brand development, and social media, White knows an interesting setup when he sees one. Just as he couldn’t resist walking into the place and experiencing it, I couldn’t resist calling Lyon’s Pub, which welcomed about 60 Husker fans, plus Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst before a recent Twins-White Sox game. Eichorst was there for a “Meet and Greet” with donors and Big Red fans supporting former Husker and current Twins’ pitcher Brian Duensing.
“We get Husker fans and transplanted Husker fans in here all the time,” Ray Rodgers told me on the phone this morning, explaining that Lyon’s Pub has been a staple restaurant for three decades of Minnesota Twins and Vikings games. “I’ve been the general manager for 25 years,” said Ray, whose brother Chris is the owner. “We’ve worked with the Nebraska Alumni Association for a long time, so we have more than two Husker banners up around this place. You better believe it was a big deal around here when Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference. This is a central location. A year ago, we were the Husker hangout for the Big Ten Baseball Tournament.”
Kansas City Royals Photo
Alex Gordon Was Introduced But Did Not Play
The Lyon’s Pub crowd had a Husker representative earn a spot on both all-star teams. A wrist injury, however, prevented Kansas City Royal left-fielder Alex Gordon from playing in his second straight All-Star Game for the American League.
Photo: Peter Diana, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pirates’ First Left-Handed All-Star Reliever in History
Former Husker and now Pittsburgh Pirate relief pitcher Tony Watson represented the National League after compiling a 5-1 record and a 1.42 ERA in 44 1/3 innings during the first half of the season. On Monday, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Watson, an Iowa native, is “the best lefty reliever in the game.” That’s debatable, of course, but this much is certain – Watson is the first left-handed relief pitcher to make the All-Star Game in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and that historical footnote dates all the way back to 1887, the year the Pirates joined the National League.
And here's the kicker: Watson threw one pitch and got one out in last night's All-Star Game. That means every pitch in his All-Star career has resulted in an out, making Watson, perhaps, according to one writer, the best pitcher in the history of the Midsummer Classic. Husker Nation is equally proud of both All-Stars who have worked relentlessly to get where they were Tuesday night … on the world stage, representing Nebraska's program as well as their MLB teams. Congratulations!
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