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Las Vegas Lights keep familiar face close to their hearts

Updated May 17, 2021 - 11:32 am

When he played left back for his academy soccer team in his native England, John Barr’s dream was to one day have his name stitched on the back of a professional jersey.

As it turns out, he’ll have to settle for having his face emblazoned on the underside of one.

The familiar countenance of the Findlay Toyota general manager and longtime TV commercial pitchman is one of the distinguishing features of the new Lights FC jersey. But you’ll have to wait for the local side to score a goal to see it.

“I am absolutely humbled,” Barr said about the prospect of a Lights player putting one into the back of the net and turning his jersey inside out to celebrate, per popular soccer tradition.

“As a kid growing up in England, it was everyone’s dream to play at a high level, and like the kids here who follow the American sports, same thing. But when you pass the point of no return and don’t play anymore, to be at this point of my life, where I’m now affiliated with a football team — a soccer team as we call it here — to be kind of at the front with my face is crazy.”

When Zappos was the Lights’ primary sponsor, its smiley face logo appeared on the inside of the jerseys. Team owner Brett Lashbrook, who never met a promotion he didn’t like, said when Findlay was promoted this season from the back of the jersey to the front, putting John Barr’s face inside made more sense than getting the ball to Lionel Messi in the 18-yard box.

“The Findlay family has done so much for this community, so much for soccer, and John just epitomizes that,” Lashbrook said. “This is a man that will do anything to sell you a car, anything to sell you a Lights ticket.”

Around the horn

■ I recently wrote about the boon in baseball and sports card collecting and how people were even flocking back to brick and mortar stores to add to their collections. Well, you can scratch Target off the checklist after two men got into a fight in the parking lot of a Wisconsin Target over trading cards. It was reported that starting on Friday, Target stores no longer would sell baseball, football, basketball and Pokemon cards “out of an abundance of caution.”

There was no word on what caused the two men to get into a fight over the cards. My guess: One offered three Alex Bregmans for two Picachus, and it escalated from there.

■ Last week’s note about Early Wynn being so mean that he would brush back his own mother elicited an email from Las Vegan Pug Winkler, who was kicked off the Indians’ team bus by Wynn when he boarded it seeking autographs during the early days of the Los Angeles Angels in 1963.

Wrote Winkler: “Now it’s 1970 and I happen to be in New York, and I went to the old-timer’s game at the stadium, and one of the participants was Early Wynn. I had to go up to him and reprise the story, and we both had a laugh. I couldn’t let the moment go by without asking Gus (Wynn’s nickname) for a picture, and as you can see by his expression (Winkler attached a photo of a smiling Wynn to an email), he couldn’t have been nicer.”

■ A football player named Brandon Bair made headlines when he pulled a man from his semitruck after it had been struck by a train and burst into flames in Idaho. This Brandon Bair was not the one from Henderson who played for UNLV, but the one who played for Oregon and then briefly for the Raiders and Eagles.

■ In keeping with the spirit of last week’s NASCAR’s throwback week at Darlington Raceway, the car driven by Las Vegas’ Matt Jaskol was transported to the track on an open air trailer rather than a million-dollar hauler, which seems large enough to house half the starting field.

Jaskol, who has landed a part-time ride with MBM Motorsports, finished 34th among 40 Xfinity Series drivers, completing 142 of the 148 laps.

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Author Steve Rushin, on the importance of drawing first blood — perhaps even literally — during hockey’s postseason:

“By the age of 18, the average American has witnessed 200,000 acts of violence on television, most of them occurring during Game 1 of NHL playoffs.”

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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