Facing the prospect of a season without European engagements, United’s board decided to enter the club in the prestigious World Series to try to raise its profile in America.
But the Premier League side were comprehensively outplayed by the San Francisco Giants in their first game as jet lag, injuries and not having any idea how to play baseball cost them dearly.
David de Gea was criticised for punching instead of catching the ball, Juan Mata looked isolated in left field and Robin van Persie was stretchered off after trying to control a 95mph fastball with his chest. A scuffle broke out in the United dugout when Marouane Fellaini was encouraged to lay a bunt by team-mates.
Wayne Rooney hurled his shirt at the bench after being told to sit down at the end of the first inning, and then put the shirt back on when he was again sent out to centre field for the second inning, before hurling it in anger again at the end of that inning. The cycle repeated nine times.
“We are starting to wonder whether we should be in the World Series at all,” Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal told FourFourTwo.
“West Brom away followed by San Francisco Giants away, then away, then home, then home, then home, then away, then away was always going to be a big ask.
“But as they say round here, it ain’t over till it’s over. Which seems to be after roughly five hours mostly spent eating pretzels.”
While critics will question United’s priorities, club officials have pointed out that Wimbledon have run a successful tennis tournament for years, which Dave Beasant famously won in 1988.
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