NUDE WORLD ORDER: May 6, 2003

Nominally, it was a great sporting weekend. Some of us were distracted, as Amherst rugby was in town and looking for a good thrashing. When Sunday evening arrived, however, all that was certain was that nothing all that good or interesting had happened in the lower 48.

NBA playoffs? Unless you count the near-collapse of the Mavericks as a story, not interested. It was gratifying to see Tracy McGrady get his comeuppance after claiming the ‘up three games to one’ Magic were “in the second round,” though. Superstars don’t say things like that and have them blow up in their face. As my buddy Zak will tell you, the real T-Mac is a seven-foot Canuck with slow feet and a degenerative nerve disease. Perhaps it’s the north-of-the-border upbringing Todd MacCulloch received that makes him polite and humble. Or perhaps the adamantium skeleton implanted by the Canadian government keeps him docile.

Funny Cide, a 12-1 shot, took the Kentucky Derby in less than two lengths over favorite Empire Maker, losing Paul Wolfowitz a considerable amount of money in the process. An elderly greyhound named Krispy Kreme came in second in the Buzz Everett Cup at Saratoga Dog Track Friday night. I care exactly the same amount about these two races.

No, you’d have to go across the pond to find the real sporting action this weekend. As George W. Bush is apt to remind us, there is evil in the world, and nothing reinforced that like Manchester United winning the English Premier League (EPL) championship Sunday. Arsenal’s 3-2 home defeat to Leeds put the chase out of reach, and guaranteed the Red Devils their eighth title in 11 years. Just sickening.

First, let’s get it out of the way that this was Arsenal’s championship to win, and they blew it. The Gunners (NWO’s club of choice, for those keeping score) were up by as many as eight points in the standings after the new year, yet showed an inconsistency and profligacy in front of goal that would spell trouble for any squad. Even decimating injuries to key players Sol Campell and Patrick Viera provide a less-than-convincing excuse for this star-studded side. They lost faith and blew it.

That said, Man U’s victory should stick in the craw of every decent person.

Man U is a team that embodies each of the evil traits of the Yankees: greed, gluttony and arrogance, then melds them with domination on a much larger scale. It is a team whose supporters are just as insufferable as Lakers fans, but with more justification and a smaller vocabulary. It is a team with dumb-as-nails pretty boy stars that always, ALWAYS have the ball bounce their way.

Their manager, patriarch and whiner-in-chief Sir Alex Ferguson is comparable to Steinbrenner – talented and intelligent, yet utterly devoid of any redeeming personality traits whatsoever, or any personality, for that matter. The difference, of course, is that he’s a damn knight. Common folk like you and I are compelled to attach an honorific to the name of a man who routinely curses out journalists and kicks equipment at the players who make his massive salary a reality. Mike Lupica would never stand for this.

At least having been born and raised in New York is a (somewhat) decent excuse for being a Yankees fan. This would be just as valid for any United fans from Manchester – the problem is that there are none. Any self-respecting resident of the Northwest metropolis supports the Devils’ archrivals and Mets analogue Manchester City. Denizens of Old Trafford are just as likely to be from Swindon or Sussex as they are to be from within 50 miles of the region. Those familiar with the Dallas Cowboys phenomenon know how frustrating this is.

Aside from their incredible, mind-boggling luck (Satan is apparently content having the club’s nickname for now, and will take his 30 pieces of silver later), Man U has the most irate, unlikable bunch of stars you can imagine. Ruud van Nistelroy, a Dutch import often called ‘The Ugliest Man in the World,’ has scored nearly 45 goals this season – quite a few for someone without knee ligaments. Ryan Giggs is a surly Welshman. Fabian Barthez gives the French people a bad, er, worse name.

And they’re coming to a stadium near you! The team will tour the United States for the first time in a generation this summer, opening the new stadium in Philly and playing exhibitions against other so-called world soccer powers. A tremendous display of hubris saw the local set-up, MLS, completely left out of the process, bypassed by power brokers back in Britain that could not care less about the development of the sport in America.

Enough is enough. Red-blooded Americans had at least a half dozen reasons to boycott the tour, even before last summer, when United signed a contract with an American sporting franchise to try to increase its overseas presence. The team? The New York Yankees. It’s like the Eminem and Royce da 5’9’’ song “Bad Meets Evil,” except for real – I, for one, will be outside Foxboro with a song of protest, fighting the good fight against the evil empire. And they say homeland security is working.