To die for | AspenTimes.com

To die for

Jon Maletz

Somewhere Ted Williams is shaking his frozen head.Are you willing to prove you are a diehard fan? Major League Baseball is about to give you the chance. The league announced earlier this week that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Eternal Images to put team logos on urns, according to The Associated Press. For those of you who choose a different route – say, 6 feet under – don’t fret; they’ve got you covered. Literally.I’ve purchased a season’s worth of Red Sox games on MLB TV. And sure, if I was buried in a red, white and blue casket with two socks emblazoned on the top, I’d be the envy of all the surrounding plots. But, am I willing to make such a commitment? Has anyone stopped to think, “Gee, this idea sounds good on paper, but is it really in good taste?””Passionate fans express their love of their team in a number of different ways,” MLB spokeswoman Susan Goodenow told the AP.Buy a bumper sticker, a Todd Helton jersey or a roll of New York Yankees toilet paper. But an urn or casket? Why don’t you stick a foam finger on my hand and paint my face for the wake while you’re at it.Published reports indicate that there have already been as many as 1,000 inquiries. I can guess who’s already on the list. The guy in the Bronx who named his kids Mickey and Babe. The Castle Rock man who commissioned a scaled down painting of Coors Field for his basement wall. And, the Arizona fan who won an eBay auction for a piece of gum chewed by Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez. For these guys, this is the greatest idea since the invention of the wheel. Or, Cheez Whiz.Such are the people enticed by the chance to share some shelf space with their Danny Ardoin bobblehead and the autograph baseballs on which they spent their second mortgage. The chance to extend a lifetime of misplaced priorities far beyond their natural lives. I guess, I’m just a little more discreet – a little more rational.I prefer a pine box over a casket lined with full-grain leather and with handles crafted by Louisville Slugger. Call me old-fashioned. Let me get this straight: I’d be giving my team of choice a lifetime’s worth of marketing publicity for a product I’d never see, and the league gets an 11 percent gratuity for my purchase? I’ve already spent boatloads on seats, parking tickets, hot dogs. And now this? What do I get in return?Will they bury me under the right field bleachers at Fenway? Will I finally get Monster seats? A coupon for two free scoops of vanilla in one of those miniature batting helmets? Anything?Baseball has to do something to sweeten the deal before I sign my life away. Maybe some All-Star pallbearers. And, if I was a Rockies fan, I’d want Dante Bichette serving punch at my after-funeral reception. That’s the least the league could do for a lifetime of commitment and service. Maybe I’m taking this too far. Maybe the idea, however morbid, is a form of self-expression that reflects a life well-lived, as Eternal Images writes on its website. I thought I’d get the pulse of other Sox fans – while they still have them.I perused a blog discussing the issue recently on Boston.com. One fan said, “This is right up there with KISS coffins.” Another chimed in, “Why stop at sport team Logos. The possibilities are unlimited. Harley Davidson, military, college football and basketball teams, IBM, Dunkin Donuts, the Energizer Bunny … the list keeps growing, and growing and growing.” Coffin lids may start looking like NASCAR hoods. Only in America. Redsoxfan84 said it best. “I personally don’t care what is on my casket… I will be dead.”What’s wrong with a pine box or a modestly priced receptacle for my ashes? I’ll be dead, not on display.Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com