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.
And of course you’d need the Japanese press.