Balance Toi: On the Continent


I snapped the picture above last week at a street fair in Antwerp. The typical Belgian street fair has just about the same crap you find at the American version of the same: socks, wallets, t-shirts, hot dogs, and lots of merchandise with pirated logos. I found this Yankee cap—with Red Sox colors—particularly amusing. When I snapped it the vendor scolded me: “You need to ask permission to take a photo.” I didn’t point out his own failure in the permission department. In any case, this was one of the few reminders of baseball I saw on the streets of Belgium. It’s not a sporting culture, frankly; the nation’s two most famous athletes are, ahem, Justine Henin and Kim Klijsters. So they’re paying some attention to the French Open this week, and not much to the sports we play over here. (Although a new bling video by Tony Parker—Tony P!—is ubiquitous on European TV. It’s actually kind of catchy.)

For a Yankee fan, it was a good couple of weeks to be out of the country, and I certainly enjoyed myself. A bit of what I saw, after the jump.


Antwerp to us. Antwerpen to them. Foreigners can’t get anything right!


It’s Belgium, so you better have a Belgian waffle. I hear Boomer likes these.


Sports aside, they do know something about rivalry in Belgium. The window treatment above, from the city’s Zuremborg district, memorializes the battle at nearby Waterloo, with flags and portraits of Wellington and Napoleon. That’s serious rivalry.


This one’s by Art Nouveau master Victor Horta. Probably not a good idea to play home run derby in Antwerp.


Though maybe you could find a place down by the waterfront.


Oh, the indignity of it all. I was in town to study this fella.


This is his house.


Would make a great place for a Wiffle Ball stadium. Anything over the Portico is a dinger!


Tough crowd, though.


Bullpen car?


And of course you’d need the Japanese press.

12 comments… add one
  • You were in Antwerp to study Al Hrabosky?  Why?

    SF June 5, 2007, 1:46 pm
  • No, no, it’s Bruce Sutter!
    Thanks for sharing these, YF. Anyone driving that “bullpen car” would probably be laughed out of America, but I bet that thing gets 500 miles to the gallon. I sure could use one of those right now..

    Scott SF June 5, 2007, 1:56 pm
  • Wasn’t Hrabosky Hungarian???
    Anyhow, those pictures are great. Thanks for posting them. Belgium looks awesome.

    jp-sf June 5, 2007, 1:57 pm
  • Since when did red, black and gold become the Red Sox colors?
    Looks like a cool trip YF, good pics.

    LocklandSF June 5, 2007, 2:08 pm
  • Hrabosky was most certainly Hungarian. That’s why I was confused. Perhaps it was one of the Vuckovich brothers that YF was learning about…

    SF June 5, 2007, 2:10 pm
  • In case anyone missed this story…
    This is Mike Lowell: On April 20, Courtney Butcher of Leicester, Mass., a freshman at the University of New Hampshire, called her father, Jim, to talk about the Monster Seats that Jim had purchased for the family for the Sunday night game. Lowell was her favorite player. That night, right after Courtney talked to her father, she and three friends were killed in an automobile accident. That Sunday night, Jim took his other children to the game. In the 4-HR inning, Lowell’s shot went right to the Butcher family.
    The next day, a friend of the family called Sarah Stevenson of the Red Sox, who relayed the message to Lowell, and he signed a uniform with these words: “Courtney, May God Be With You, Rest in Peace.” He also sent word to Jim Butcher that he would homer for Courtney. The wake was that Tuesday, April 24, and Lowell’s uniform was draped over Courtney’s coffin. That night, he homered against the Blue Jays.

    LocklandSF June 5, 2007, 2:26 pm
  • looks beautiful yf. welcome home.
    as for baseball:
    gary the sheff doesn’t like foreign countries. or the people who inhabit them….
    “you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out.”
    thanks for that gary. my hate for you had started to subside since you left the rivalry. thanks for renewing it.

    sf rod June 5, 2007, 2:31 pm
  • That’s a great story about Lowell.. Where did you pick it up, Lockland?

    Regular_Brad. June 5, 2007, 3:33 pm
  • great photos, YF. Welcome back.

    Nick-YF June 5, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • Peter Gammons ESPN blog, I didn’t bother with the link because it’s ESPN Insider. I heard it was also in the Herald, but couldn’t find it.

    LocklandSF June 5, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • The bullpen car is cute (yeh, I’m old enough to remember baseball-shaped golf carts) but … bananas get flattened (quickly) on Boston & NY sidewalks.

    Jim in CT SF June 5, 2007, 4:55 pm
  • Nice pics, Unfortunately for Sox fans everyone in Europe seems to want a Yanks hat although they dont care if its red or green. PS The biggest sport in Belgium is cycling. Those tennis players are nice and all but Tom Boonen their real hero. Even the president of the country shows up on the post Tour-stage talk shows on TV and will discuss the days race and the old heros of Belgian cycling. If you want to see some real ‘honkball’ then you gotta go up north to Holland

    Honkball June 6, 2007, 12:53 am

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