This series is inspired by the must read book “All Caps, Stories That Justify an Outrageous Hat Collection” by Craig Colby. Craig wrote this book about the many caps he has and the stories behind it. Anyhow, this series will be about the caps I own and the stories behind them.
In this episode of “Personal Stories About Ballcaps,” we pay attention to my only game-worn cap: the cap of Team Belgium.
When the WBSC Europe decided to push back the 2018 European Championships, so it could serve as a qualifier for the qualifier of the Olympic Baseball Tournament of the Tokyo Olympics, there was a need for a tournament to fill that void. So the Super6 was created. With this tournament, the top six baseball and softball countries of Europe participated. In case of the baseball tournament, the following countries were qualified, based on the standings of the 2016 European Championship: Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands (all in random order).
Once again, this international tournament was played in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands. The weather didn’t really cooperate, which resulted in the final game of the round robin and the final not being played due to inclement weather. As the Netherlands finished on top of the standings during the round robin, it was declared winner of the tournament. Personally, I think the players would have wanted to play instead of winning the tournament like this.
During the first game of the final day of the round robin, I chatted with one of the players of the Belgian national team. I know the guy in person, so it was a lot easier to approach him. The thing that started the conversation was a cap (of course). He wore a cap of the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League. I asked him if an Australian teammate of his arranged this cap for him, and that was the start of a long conversation about baseball, the situation of the sport in both the Netherlands and Belgium, and many more things.
At one point, I asked him how I could lay my hands on a Belgian national team cap. Ever since I saw this cap for the first time, I fell in love with it. I said I was willing to pay for it. He asked me for my cap size and told me to wait for me at the entrance of the locker room after Belgium’s game against the Netherlands, which was never played due to pouring rain.
At the end of the day, I went to the locker room and waited for him at the entrance. When he came out of the locker room, he handed me a cap, which he said was his own. It was my size anyway, so I was very pleased with it. He said it was a gift and I should keep my mouth shut about who gave it to me. I don’t know how many times I thanked him for it. Eventually, I walked through the corridor, where a lot of Belgian players were waiting for the bus. I could not suppress a big grin because of my happiness. It was and still is the only game-worn cap of my collection. To me, the fact that it is game-worn is an added value.
This cap is THE cap which the Belgian adult team sports. The Belgian youth teams (U12 – U23) sport an all black flex-fit cap.
What I like about the cap is the two tone colors, the playful B on the front and the Belgian flag at the back of the cap. And of course, the cap is of my favorite brand: Richardson Caps.
This Belgian national team cap wasn’t the only cap I would score during this tournament, but more about that later.