Baseball fans will be dying to get one of these for Christmas

The holidays continue — Hanukkah begins Dec. 21 — which means Big League Stew is on the lookout for the neatest baseball-themed gifts for enthusiasts of what's still our national pastime. Welcome to another installment of Big League Stew's Holiday Gift Guide '08!

At first glance, holiday shoppers might think this gift idea would cast a pall over Christmas morning, or that it's not even real, but Eternal Image really does craft themed caskets and urns for loved ones who love(d) baseball.

And here the Orioles thought they were the only ones buried in the standings.

The manufacturer's suggested retail prices — $4,449 for a casket and $799 for an urn — might seem steep, especially to the pine box set. After all, just because we're bereaved, that doesn't make us saps! Thankfully, reports that a funeral home in Massachusetts offers a Red Sox casket for $3,000. At that "most modest" price, the consequences aren't so grave for your wallet.

So, if you or the baseball fan in your life prefer to transmit precious mortal remains in something greater than a coffee can — such as a fancy vase with a Braves logo on it — then get in touch with Eternal Image, which is licensed to sell caskets, urns and headstone medallions for all 30 major league teams.

They also presumably will answer questions such as:

• Can they make a Brewers casket Sabathia-sized for the XXXL fan ?

• Is there insurance for exhuming and retrofitting, post-burial, if a team changes its logo (the O's), its nickname (the Rays), or even its city (the Angels)?

• Are the Yankees and Mets caskets nicer than the others because of richer government subsidy?

Other concerns, such as "Will my White Sox fan husband become one of the undead if buried in a Cubs coffin?" should probably be settled on a theological plain.

Eternal Image, which is based in suburban Detroit, also does Star Trek if that's how you want to beam out of the mortal coil.

Finding a suitable final resting place is about the last thoughtful thing anyone could do for you — or you could do for yourself. Just remember, folks, it's your funeral.

Makes sure to check out Big League Stew's previous gift ideas, which include the "Bullpen Buddy" inflatable aid for relief pitchers; a chair and ottoman shaped like baseballs; a portable bathroom and a peppermill that looks like a bat.

Happy holidays, shoppers!

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