The Rundown

Anthony Varvaro, former MLB pitcher killed en route to work 9/11 post, was a hero to Staten Island -

Another week, another holler.

This week has me attempting to fuse some ELO blue sky to the Monk’s midnight indigo, which is what happens every time my brain returns from its Hoboken getaway. All the same, Imma be righteous in my rundown of the things that scratched my lottery winning itch, in an extra credit kind of way. Think amble with a James Brown chaser and you’re onto something.

The above capture is my Heroes of the Week! hat tip to a young man who was taken from us much too soon. Anthony Varvaro lived the kind of life Pete Hamill used to write into classic love letters about the human condition. The thirty-seven year old worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; this after having lived a major league dream across three cities and six seasons. He was a relief pitcher for the Mariners, Braves and Red Sox in his other life, a champion in the one that followed.

His arm carried him from St. John’s University to the Show, after which he cashed in his chips to make the kind of difference our better angels get fat on. Varvaro was killed in a car crash on his way to work at the September 11th memorial ceremony in Manhattan. As if the day hasn’t taken enough, it took one more.

His was a short lived gift to those of us who want the good stories to matter more than all the rest. Because while his book went short, his chapters prevailed upon us with passages that stick. We will remember how he devoted his life to the service of others. And how his dreams were of a better world for this generation and all the ones to follow. His method involved that most time tested blueprint for big dreams: One that requires rolled up sleeves, a humble heart and a soul with a full tank. And I like to imagine Varvaro is stretching his legs in the Milky Way right about now.

We were simply borrowing him.

Marco’s “Best Quote of the Week!” belongs to journeyman QB Geno Smith. The guy has called more places home than a long haul trucker. But he’s still one of only 1,696 men to earn an NFL paycheck, so he’s doing plenty right. And his quote after leading the Seattle Seahawks to a W on Monday Night Football is the kind of genius Oscar Wilde used to marry on the regular. I might have to put Geno on my fantasy league team for literary sake alone.

Aaron Judge belts 56th, 57th homers as Yankees beat Red Sox

I had to Judge it for a third week in a row here at the Rundown, seeing as how Kyrie Irving scored two straight buckets worth of episodes back when we were doing our bi-ness as Heroes . As interesting as I find that knucklehead, I’m in the market for a new King. There’s a dude who is currently working at 161st Street in the Bronx who fits this bill, to the tune of 57 Big Macs with plenty of menu left to be read. 61 ties Aaron Judge with Yankees legend Roger Maris while 62 paves a new parking space in Yankees- and MLB- lore. This is page turning stuff, especially considering he’s also hot on the heels of a Triple Crown season. So now the question becomes, can Judge make it four straight appearances next week on the Rundown?

Stay tuned . . . .

House of the Dragon: Aegon's Catspaw Dagger Is Even More Important Than We Thought - IGN

I wasn’t gonna do it until I did it. No, no, no . . I’m not talking about some primo OG Kush. In this instance, I’m talking about the newest Game of Thrones remedy now streaming on HBO. The storyline in House of the Dragon is a couple hundred years in the rear view of the seven kingdoms of GOT, and it follows the Targaryen dynasty into all manner of debauchery and dragons. The cast is Valyrian steel and the story turns my page just fine, because it ain’t surfing on the coattails of the show that made it go.

It’s how you prequel.

Where to watch the late Queen's funeral in London: best viewing points and public screens

Queen Elizabeth’s passing last week at the age of ninety-six at Balmoral Castle in the UK marked the end of an era. And what an era it was. Her seventy years on the throne marks the longest reign of any British monarch ever and the only one most of us have ever known. She was Queen for 15 British Prime Ministers, which means she met with the sublime of Winston Churchill to the ridiculous of Boris Johnson. She wasn’t a policy maker, but she was in the loop on all things England.

A thirty-eight minute cortege on Wednesday saw the Queen’s coffin travel from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. The unease of that crown, even in an age where the weight is mostly symbolic in nature, now passes to the son, King Charles III.

Uvalde High School Teams Wins First Football Game Since Shooting

The Uvalde High School football team is 2-0 after winning its home opener 34-28 in a come from behind thriller last weekend. For this small Texas town with a population of 16,000, good outcomes are hard earned these days.

Uvalde was the scene of an unimaginable horror on May 24 when twenty-one people- nineteen students and two teachers- were gunned down at Robb Elementary School. The students lost in the rampage ranged in age from 9 to 11 years old. And just writing that sentence makes my hands shake.

The Coyotes winning a couple of football games inside the first breaths of autumn doesn’t change what came before. But for a night, it was something good happening inside an age where madness wins too far too often. It was a coming together for all the right reasons. It was kids being able to be, well . . kids. It was smiles and cheers and hugs and it was knowing. Knowing how important it is for the living to tell the stories of those twenty-one souls whose tomorrows never came. And maybe it’s more important than we know, to tell those stories until our lights no longer shine.

I have to wonder if maybe, just maybe, there was something happening from somewhere else to here when the Uvalde high school team won its first game of the season at the end of August by a score of twenty-one to thirteen. You can chalk those twenty-one points up to coincidence if you like.

I never will.



46 thoughts on “The Rundown

  1. As anticipated and expected, another great rundown, which didn’t involve a pickle. Mr. Judge is on a run for the ages. Imagine what he could do if half his games were in Great American Ballpark! A worthy tip of the cap to the life of Anthony Varvaro. A state title for Uvalde would be the next Hoosiers. A toast to QE’s life! Great song, too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pickle Free!

      Judge is having one of those seasons. The thing is, is this the peak? I’m just enjoying the hell out of it and hoping the Yankees can make a postseason run.

      Varvaro had so much left to give. So sad.

      Wouldn’t that be something if they did win it? Wow.

      Here’s to the Queen.

      Isn’t it a good ‘un?

      Thanks Cincy


  2. Great quote by Geno. That being said, step away from your fantasy team and don’t hit that claim button. Go Aaron Judge Go. It is great theatre watching him mash baseballs and chase some history. House Of The Dragon…it does feel a bit different from GOT and that’s a good thing. Prequels can be tricky things, but so far I think this is navigating the waters ok…but I heard there was 17 dragons and I need to see them all in the air ASAP. I have heard people may be in line for over a day to pay tribute to the Queen. I would not be in that line, but I admire any human who can inspire such devotion. RIP QE. Yes, great song. New to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I know better. Umm.. I have Baker as my backup. Yeah. . .

      Aaron Judge is having a historically great season. Leading the league in more categories than the one, with a BA over .300. Super impressive.

      I want the Dragon Air Force out there as well.

      Respect needs to matter. I just don’t get all the venom hurled at the Queen. Have some respect, people.

      That was new to me too, but I dig.

      Thank you Bruce

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man…yet another casualty from 9/11. Sorry to hear about good guy Varvaro and his trip to the major Majors. May he rest in peace with the other souls stolen that fine autumn day so long ago.

    Geno handed the Donkeys a reality check (let’s just hope the $250M check they gifted an extension to #3 before he’d ever taken a down doesn’t bounce (WTH?). Like I said when management picked him up, let’s not get carried away without him having a front line to protect those aging knees which were clearly evident last week. Sigh.

    QEII was not a perfect monarch and stumbled a couple of times during her reign but all in all, she was a decent human who did the best she could. May she rest in eternal peace. Let’s hope her son is able to follow in her steps though with his queen consort, that remains somewhat in question.

    Hope your pin striped fella continues to shine. Have a good weekend, Marc!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an awful thing to happen. And to think of all the many special things this kid had ahead of him.

      The Broncos did what they want on offense, and then stalled time after time after time. I’m happy for Geno because let’s be real, he’s not the answer in Seattle. But he’s a good dude from what I can tell. The Broncos will be fine.

      I’m just thrown by all the venom being thrown at the Queen. There is no respect any longer, it’s sad.

      I hope so too! Thank you Monika.

      Enjoy the weekend

      Liked by 1 person

  4. B,

    I always look forward to these… And “fuse some ELO blue sky to Monk’s midnight indigo”? How do you… sigh…

    It is all the more sad when someone’s life is taken from them too soon. Car crash on Anthony Varvaro’s way to a 9/11 memorial ceremony is just not right.

    I absolutely LOVE Geno Smith’s response! I am so gonna use it if anyone writes me off!

    Go Judge, Go! I think Judge IS going to make it four straight appearances on the Rundown because… he should!

    House of the Dragon is a muy pleasant surprise. And I agree with you. A prequel is best when there are a few generations separating the original from said prequel.

    Say what you will about the Queen – and Lord knows people are saying all sorts of things: good, bad and ugly – I think she was a good human, who was given a huge task and handled most things with grace. Like any human, she dropped the ball now and again. The difference is, she picked it back up and took it into another direction, upon consideration of others suggestions. Unlike some other leaders who remain pigheaded and refuse to adapt to circumstances.

    Wonderful that Uvalde has something to celebrate. They refuse to remain in the muck of tragedy and are moving forward. It’s not easy, nothing will be forgotten (nor should it) but they have to honour life. And yeah… twenty-one to thirteen? No coincidence, there.

    Thank you for this fabulous song.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      It’s blue skies and not blue skies. It’s that favorite pop song and the saddest opera. It’s life, I’m guessing.

      It’s awful. The kid has a ton left to give. Which means we keep his spirit alive, because it’s the only thing we can do now.

      It’s my favorite quote right now. Wow!

      I think you may be right. He’s closing in, and I want to see it happen. New York would be great, but anywhere really. It would be kind of interesting to see the reception if he were to break the record and it happened on the road.

      I thought this was a very much needed pleasant surprise after that shit show called Echoes. Which I don’t plan on watching any more of.

      You said it better than me. And it’s true. People have really sucked- well, some people- in their responses to the Queen’s passing. There is no respect for anything or anyone.

      That was some coincidence . . . I think not.

      Here’s to the team and the town.

      This song threw me.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. I know what you mean.

        It really is. Life is full of those not-fair moments.

        Mine, too. I am so hoping someone throws it at me! (Which it hasn’t so far in my life…)

        Woo hoo! But yeah, it would be nice in New York. I like to think he would be cheered, if on the road. ‘Course, I sometimes wear rose-coloured glasses.

        What a waste of time that Echoes was. You and me both are dissing it.

        Thank you. We’ve had this discussion before where people feel it’s okay to totally shit on someone who is now dead. I know I would not want to have been in her shoes.

        Definitely, not.

        Yes, to Uvalde.

        It came and got me in my gut.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s how songs get sung and books get written. The good, the bad and the forgettable, all wrapped into a cosmic sushi roll.

          His was the story that didn’t go long. But its residual might has staying power.

          I would feel silly wearing a t-shirt. But yeah, it’s that good.

          It would be interesting if it did happen on the road. Boston, of all places, was rooting him on last week. But it could also be chalked up to them being so close to the Yankees when it comes to everything baseball; sometimes that rivalry also breeds a respect.

          The worst part about Echoes is how smart it thought it was. I hate that.

          And the idea that you don’t talk ill of the dead, well . . that’s done. Rather than say nothing, people insist on talking about the person as if they were still around to defend themselves. Not only is it disrespectful, it’s cowardice.

          An undefeated season or a title in Uvalde would be something.

          It does.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. A terrific post, Pilgrim. Your discussion of the queen is one of the best I have read. I always thought she was a decent human and your words supported that thought. Your tribute to Anthony Varvaro makes me think that there was more he had to do somewhere else. “We were simply borrowing him,” was a touching line. What can we say about Uvalde? That community suffer from the incompetence of it’s protectors. It is good to see a high school coach do his work with competence. He will lift the whole place with his job well done. Thanks for all these.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The Queen trumped all this week, feeling sad for her family, who despite controversy seem to be in genuine mourning. I couldn’t help thinking about her grandson, Harry, when he unabashedly broke down thinking, he’s so like his mother, not ashamed of his feelings. Then when I read her 12 Corgis went looking for her, that was it. My tears broke free.

    I also like in the Anthony Varvaro piece, that you mentioned Pete Hamill, one of my all time heroes who should never be forgotten, so thanks for that. Susannah

    Liked by 1 person

    • She was many things, but above all, she did her very best in a role that was not one she chose. Of course, it was back in a time when you couldn’t say “Thanks but no thanks” to the role. People were duty bound. She represented her country with class and grace. Which is more than can be said for many of the leaders of the free world.

      Varvaro dying in the way to the memorial is a tragedy on top of the sadness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m here fighting with an ex of mine who happens to be English over how they treated Harry at the funeral. Why they couldn’t for once, just ease the fuck up on protocol. It was his Granny for Pete sake. He was the only one who shed tears for the world to see and you’re not gonna tell me she wouldn’t have loved that. He’s so much like his mom. sigh and the beat of the fucking drums…go on.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The protocol, so rigid and lacking in depth, is why so many tire of the scene. The kid was his mother’s child and it shows in his spirited independence. For those who trash him and his wife, they have no blessed idea how daunting it is to say no to these people and that life.


  7. Varvaro’s book might be short as you say, but it sounds like a helluva good book.


    I never watched Game of Thrones. Well, some episodes for Emmy Voting, and I did vote for costumes. Maybe I’ll check out House of the Dragon. Thing is I try to draw in the evenings. If a show is too good, it distracts me. Music works better.

    We do have a 2 hour window when we eat dinner and watch TV. Thing is I’ll have to sell N on the show.

    I’m behind on everything. My life went on hold when the Queen died. I could not get enough of any little thing!

    Uvalde….. šŸ˜­ Robb Elementary.
    I’m glad the team won the game, with 21 points…..crazy.
    When will humans win the gun game down there, Marc?

    Lovely song!


    Liked by 1 person

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