Cubs fans at rest, from here to eternity
Cremated remains can now reside in Wrigley's likeness
A red brick wall designed to resemble the one in center field at Wrigley Field has been erected in a Chicago cemetery and is ready to accept the cremated remains of Cubs fans, according to the Associated Press.
Blue and white Cubbie urns are available for $800.
The report says the wall has a stained-glass scoreboard and what Fans Forever president Dennis Mascari calls "skyboxes" to accommodate 288 "season-ticket holders."
There are four seats from Wrigley, where loved ones can sit and recall shared afternoons at the ballpark, and a small patch of lawn that Mascari snagged outside Wrigley when the team dumped it there after tearing it out to replace it.
"You can bring your family out here, you can have a game of catch," said Mascari, who told The AP he envisions the 32-foot-wide wall at Bohemian National Cemetery as a sort of eternal field of dreams. "You can sit here and feel like you're at the ballpark."
Mascari, 61, won't say how many not-yet-departed fans have signed up with his company, but said he's heard from survivors of fans whose cremated remains are in urns at home or at some other cemetery who might want to make a move.
He expects "paid attendance" to reach 15 or 20 within a month and said that if things go well, he wants to add a left-field wall topped by a stained-glass rooftop scene and a right-field wall topped by one showing the bleachers and the elevated train that runs behind Wrigley.
Jim Simkins, an owner of a funeral home in nearby Morton Grove, attended the wall's dedication.
"If you read the death notices, they always say die-hard Cubs fans, grandma couldn't wait any longer for the Cubs to win the pennant or something like that," he told The AP. "Well, now they can wait there with all the other suffering fans."
"A lot of Cubs fans are shut-ins who live and die with the Cubs every game, it's their whole life," said Ricky Greenspan, a childhood friend of Mascari. "Especially when the Cubs aren't allowing loved ones' [ashes] to be sprinkled on the field, the next best thing is this."
One of those who wants in the wall is 86-year-old Rudy Betzold.
"He said, 'I can't wait to get there,'" said his son, Chuck Betzold, a member of the cemetery association.
Rudy Betzold's spot is next to the yellow "400" that looks like the 400-foot marker at Wrigley that Chuck Betzold painted.
"Because Dad's going in the wall, I helped out," he said.
Betzold said he thinks his dad has purchased the "Grand Slam" package that includes a service, bronze baseball card plaque, Cubs urn and one of the roomier spots in the wall.
Mascari said the Grand Slam package goes for about $4,700, but the price tag will go up maybe $1,500 for the cremation -- which is sold separately, and handled by someone else.
The Cubs have no intention of getting involved in the service. Mascari said that when he talked to the Cubs, he was told that the wall better not have anything that resembled the team's big red C logo.
But the logo will be part of the wall -- both inside the urns and on the nameplates attached to the outside.
Those, said Mascari, are products licensed by Major League Baseball.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.