Death, Cremation, and Fandom: a Perfectly Natural Grouping?


While probably old news to enthusiastic and morbid Chicago Cubs fans, I just came across a peculiar story related to such folks. I read an account online of Wednesday’s opening of Beyond the Vines, a burial location dedicated to the Cubs located in Chicago’s Bohemian National Cemetery. There is room for 288 lucky, albeit dead, fans inside the internment area, which is intended to be a partial-replica of the outfield wall where the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. Fans, upon bodily incineration, have the opportunity to have the urn containing their earthly remains stored away in this “temple” to their heroes. The starting price for a spot in this shrine: $1295. The concept, thought up and brought to reality by Dennis Mascari, is a venture of the business, Fans Forever. In a July, 2008 press release, Mascari said of the concept, “It will be a comfort knowing that your loved ones are in their own perpetual skybox resting in peace with other Cubs fans.” Fans Forever is prepared to move this concept across the nation to other markets where folks are so enthusiastic about their teams (i.e. New York, St. Louis, Boston) that they could envision their ashes “resting” more peacefully sitting inside a container dedicated to their respective team. Really!

I am familiar with people keeping their loved one’s ashes on the mantle of the family fireplace. I also know it is fairly common to partake in the spreading of one’s ashes across a special mountain range or body of water. These locations or acts seem to have a special meaning or spiritual relevance. But do people really want to have their loved one’s ashes interned within a temple to the deceased’s beloved baseball team? Along with my wonderful mother, I was raised by a loving man who happened to be an incredibly enthusiastic baseball fan. There were few things he cared for more than the St. Louis Cardinals. Still I feel comfortable with my assumption that even he would have nothing to do with having his remains interned inside a temple to the Cardinals. I guess the idea seems a bit strange to me. Am I wrong? Will someone…ahem, I mean will some 288 people really want this?

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