Man flushes his friend’s ashes down ballpark toilets across the land

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What? Don’t look at me like that. You read the headline. You knew exactly what you were getting into here. This comes from the New York Times, though, so it’s classy and stuff. 

But yes, the story is pretty straightforward. A Mets fan named Tom McDonald was best friends with fellow Mets fan Roy Riegel. Riegel died nine years ago and McDonald was charged by Riegel’s family with disposing of his ashes in an appropriate manner. At first McDonald scattered some at ballparks and notable places, but then he realized it’d just be easier to flush him down the toilet at ballparks around the country:

“The game has to be in progress — that’s a rule of mine,” Mr. McDonald said one recent weeknight before entering a Citi Field bathroom, holding a little plastic bottle containing a scoopful of Mr. Riegel’s cremains . . . “I took care of Roy, and I had to use the facilities myself,” Mr. McDonald said, emerging from the stall with the empty container. “So I figure, you know, kill two birds . . I always flush in between, though,” he added. “That’s another rule of mine.”

It’s appropriate because Riegel was a plumber. And because, according to his friend, he was “a major partier” who “walked that tightrope between genius and insanity.” His cause of death was not specified, but the article says “The fast life caught up with him.” Whatever the case, McDonald thinks his friend would’ve wanted it this way. And who are we to question that?

So far, his ashes have been deposited at least nine stadiums. But not just stadiums:

In Cleveland, Mr. Riegel’s ashes were flushed at both Progressive Field and at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, because Mr. Riegel was a devout rocker.

I bet he was.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.