All-Star Game Has Its Own ‘Husker Hangout’

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Tony Watson Husker Bio        Watson MLB Bio

Alex Gordon Husker Bio         Gordon MLB Bio

By Randy York

A former working colleague of mine has been in Minneapolis since last Friday, helping the company that designed Target Field stage a number of events in advance of tonight’s Major League All-Star Game.  In a central Minneapolis business and entertainment district, located just a block from the stadium that will honor two former Huskers tonight, 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 enters Lyon’s Pub and finds another interesting sight that he calls “above the bar”.  It’s a Minnesotans for Nebraska banner, welcoming Husker fans from near and afar.

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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.”

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Kansas City Royals Photo

Alex Gordon Will Be Introduced But Will Not Play

The Lyon’s Pub crowd will be rooting for both all-star teams tonight because each roster has a Husker player who achieved a spot in the mid-summer classic.  A wrist injury will prevent Kansas City Royal left-fielder Alex Gordon from playing in his second straight All-Star Game for the American League.

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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 will represent 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.  Yesterday, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Watson, an Iowa native, is “the best lefty reliever in the game.”  That’s debatable, but this is certain – Watson is the first left-handed relief pitcher to make the All-Star Game in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Don’t worry.  I checked online.  The Pirates joined the National League in 1887.  So, just like Gordon, Watson deserves applause even if he doesn’t play.

Husker Nation is equally proud of both All-Stars who have worked relentlessly hard to get where they are tonight … on the world stage.

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