Minor League Baseball is well known for its wacky promotions and free giveaways, but this one might be going a little too far.

The independent league Grand Prairie Airhogs, playing out of Grand Prairie, Texas (between Dallas and Fort Worth), are giving away an all expenses paid funeral to a fan at today’s game.

According to the team’s press release:

“We thought this promotion was a great opportunity for us to showcase Irving’s newest funeral home,” said Chapel of Roses Funeral Director, Charlotte Chism Waldrum. “We are excited to be partnering with the AirHogs in their inaugural season.”

Upon the winning fan’s death they will be garnered with a casket with their choice of color (black?), professional fees (undertaker charges), burial preparation (embalming), use of facilities (burial plot space), vehicle services (hearse), and the burial plot will also include a 24″ x 14″ granite marker with a zinc base. You gotta go with the zinc on that kind of hardware.

As the press release continues, more strange details emerge:

Fans of all ages are welcome to participate in the promotion. Registration will be accepted immediately and will continue until 6:15p.m. on June 3. Fans can either call to register or can visit the fan assistance booth during the games.Twenty people will be selected randomly from the pre-entries and will be announced after the pre-game funeral march. Throughout the game, competitions will be held between the twenty selected to determine who will be the winner. The lucky individual will be selected in the middle of the eighth inning. Some of the in-game-festivities will include: pallbearer races, mummy wrapping, eulogy deliveries, and much more! Fans are encouraged to wear black to the game.

You’ve gotta be kidding me with this one. Fans of all ages? What if some little kid ends up winning this thing? That’s going to be pretty morbid. And it appears as though ‘The Airhogs’ have very little respect for the dead with ‘games’ like pallbearer races and eulogy contests.

However, as far as funeral home/minor league baseball promotions go, this is some brilliant marketing. Being the inaugural ‘season’ for both the team and the funeral home, it’s a can’t miss crossover, right? Everybody’s gotta die sometime.

Grand Prairie Airhogs: Airhogs Give Away Free Funeral, June 3, 2008

CNBC Sports Biz: Free Funeral, The Latest Promotional ‘Plot’ For Baseball, June 3, 2008