Man Honors Childhood Friend ... by Flushing His Ashes

Tom McDonald has flushed Roy Riegel's ashes at 16 MLB ballparks
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2017 7:19 PM CDT
Updated May 3, 2017 2:21 AM CDT
Man Honors Childhood Friend ... by Flushing His Ashes
Stock image   (Getty Images/benkrut)

"I went to the bathroom, and I was like, I know what to do," Tom McDonald tells the New York Daily News. Roy Riegel, McDonald's childhood friend and fellow New York Mets superfan, died in 2008 at the age of 48. McDonald kept Riegel's ashes in a peanut can wrapped in Mets ticket stubs next to his collection of baseball autographs and World Series highlights, but he wasn't sure exactly what to do with them, the AP reports. According to the New York Times, the answer presented itself after a trip to a bar's men's room: flush his friend's ashes down the toilet. Since McDonald's stroke of genius, he's flushed scoops of Riegel's ashes at 16 Major League stadiums around the country.

McDonald calls it the "perfect tribute" to his friend, "the best plumber you ever saw" who "walked that tightrope between genius and insanity." Hank Riegel agrees, saying his brother "would definitely approve of it." There are rules to McDonald's tribute to Riegel: a baseball game must be in progress when the ashes are flushed, and if McDonald also has to use the facilities, "I always flush in between." McDonald has flushed Riegel's ashes in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Baltimore, and Chicago (though not at Wrigley Field due to the Cubs' rival status), to name a few. McDonald says he has enough ashes left for one final flush, which he plans to do at North Carolina's Durham Athletic Park, where the movie Bull Durham was filmed. (More flush stories.)

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