Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wacky minor league giveaway offers funeral arrangements

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - For anyone who might say giving away a free funeral at a baseball game as entertainment is morbid, and crass, you would have a point.

But a guy by the name of Steve Paul would argue you’re wrong.

Wild and wacky promotions are a way of life in the world of minor league baseball, but a funeral giveaway?

That might be over the top.

The idea came from Kurt Landis the General Manager for The Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

“Teams are used to pushing the envelope and teams want to be crazy and fun,” Landis said.

But for 64-year-old Steve Paul, the funeral giveaway valued at $10,000 is a blessing.

Diagnosed with ALS in June, the Lehigh Valley man entered an essay contest with the IronPigs to win, knowing his disease is fatal and irreversible.

“For a person who is not looking at their own mortality, yes it would be morbid. For a person who is trying to find some sort of peace and some sort of direction knowing what lies ahead, it is very comforting,” Paul said.

The funeral giveaway at the ballpark includes a headstone, casket, flowers and a memorial service.

The idea was tough to take for his daughter.

“It’s shaken my world, it has shaken the rest of my family’s world. This is one less thing that we have to worry about,” Robyn Paul said.

And when the IronPigs announced Paul was the recipient of the free funeral on the field Tuesday night, he was greeted with a standing ovation.

For his remaining days, Paul has been relieved of the burden of leaving his family to pay for his funeral.

“I am so happy. I am ecstatic,” Paul said.

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