Take me out with my ball team
Yankees and Mets coffins cost $5,995 about $1,000 more than a comparable traditional casket. (Photo by Tiffany L. Clark)
Steven Galante is a die-hard Mets fan, and he has the casket to prove it.
Galante, 42, of Smithtown, Long Island, is the first known area resident to purchase one of the new coffins emblazoned with baseball team logos and colors.
You wear your favorite hat when your team plays, Galante said. I guess, when youre dead, why not go out in the best way that you want to?
The first batch of the caskets is being distributed to funeral homes nationwide and cost $5,995 each about $1,000 more than a traditional coffin made of similar materials.Twenty teams caskets will be available by December, including the Yankees and Mets. The manufacturer, Michigan-based Eternal Image, plans to have all 30 franchises accounted for by the end of 2009.
Since the company began selling team-branded urns in 2006, CEO Clint Mytych said the Yankees have attracted the most customers. Two other sports leagues also may be added to Eternal Images future roster, he said.
At a time when the funeral industry is focusing on the celebration of a life, rather than mourning a death, the baseball caskets are enlivening a typically grim experience.
Galante learned of the coffins in June when he attended his grandmothers funeral at The Branch Funeral Home in Smithtown. Branch co-owner John Vigliante told Galante about the coffins that were slated to hit the market.
I said, Hey, the first day you get them in, let me know. Ill be planning my funeral, Galante recalled. He pre-purchased his casket a week after Branch received its first shipment last month.
Since then, the Mets and Yankees coffins have been a hot topic of conversation among clients, Vigliante said.
They may feel like, For me, thats too much. But maybe for Uncle Joe, he would love this, he said.
The velvet-lined caskets are made of 18-gauge steel with exterior white ash wood accents the same wood used in major-league bats. Logos adorn the outside shell, as well as an inside panel and pillow.
Mike Coutu, 23, who lives on Long Island and works in the Financial District, said hed consider being buried in a Mets coffin.
I know my roommate from college would be all for this, said Coutu. Hes a huge Mets fan, too. He would definitely do it.
When shown a photo of the coffins, Yankees fan Alex Duque said the caskets werent for him but conceded that other fans would welcome them.
Thats totally extreme, said Duque, 31, of midtown. But I guess if thats how you want to go out why not?