Two years ago, when Dennis Mascari went to visit his father at a cemetery, he came up with an idea: Build an area for deceased Cubs fans.
Mascari, who said he was broke at the time, made this his mission, and tomorrow his company Fans Forever will open Beyond the Vines, an internment area modeled after Wrigley Field's centerfield wall.
"The goal was to try and take away some of the gloominess and depression from a cemetery visit," Mascari told me.
Mascari bought plots at the Bohemian National Cemetery on Chicago's North side. He then built a red-brick wall modeled after the one that stands in centerfield at Wrigley Field. The structure includes a stained glass scoreboard.
Those that buy space must be cremated. Mascari says the average cost of cremation is in between $3,000 and $5,000 and the "Eternal Skyboxes" Mascari sells start at $1,295. The average cost of a traditional burial is about $8,000.
"When I started thinking about this, it had nothing to do with the economy," Mascari said. "But now, it just makes sense."
As much as 38 percent of people that die will be cremated this year, up from 26 percent in 2000, according to the Cremation Association of North America.
Beyond the Vines has enough space to hold 288 urns. Those who decide to make this spot the final resting place of their loved one will be able to sit in authentic Cubs box seats and stand on recently removed Wrigley turf, Mascari says.
After Mascari does this successfully in Chicago, he says he's thinking about taking it to New York and presenting the idea to Yankees fans.
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