After weeks — nay, months — of hype, we finally get to watch Tiger Woods et al compete in The Masters today. Except we can’t actually watch it. It’s not on television, at least not until 3 p.m., by which time Tiger will be holing out on the 18th. Not televising huge chunks of the tournament is one of the doctrines of the cult of The Masters. Also not letting women join Augusta National even if a person happens to be the CEO of IBM and all previous CEOs of IBM were given an honorary (cultish) green jacket. Also banning TV commentators if they make the slightest off-color remark. Also not letting parents bequeath their Masters badges to their offspring.
Some of these fetishistic rules are actually good, such as the limit on commercials during the few hours that The Masters is permitted to be seen on TV by the (unbadged, unwashed) public. But the no-TV thing is cramping my style today, since I’m forced to follow the action via an ESPN Internet leaderboard.
This is not satisfying. It’s also a distraction at work, since if I’m fiddling with the interactive Internet leaderboard and watching highlights of Tiger’s round, I can’t do what I really need to do, which is check the baseball scores and the sports blogs.
Also I have more serious work to do. I need, most of all, to kill spam. I have roughly 10,000 unread emails, of which about 9,999 are spam. I would kill the entire inbox, but somewhere in there, I’m sure, is an important email, a real one, from someone who, for example, might send me a large sum of money if I first wire a few thouand dollars to a bank account overseas. I don’t want to miss that nugget amid the dross.
Complicating my schedule is the fact that this is Opening Day for the Nationals. They play the Cubs at Wrigley. Strasburg is pitching. HUGE game, because the Nats are tied for first, still, having not yet been forced to play. And supposedly they’re actually good this year, with a stellar starting rotation. Thus I live for baseball now, except to the extent that it interferes with me monitoring the golf. Some sentimental person decided that Opening Day at Wrigley Field ought to be played during the day, so the first pitch is this afternoon, right when people are stuck at work and trying to follow the Masters leaderboard on their computers. This is a bit of a train wreck.
And then there’s the Caps game tonight. The Caps are a hockey team we follow here religiously in Washington [copy editor, where do I put “religiously” in that sentence?]. They need to win their final two games so that they can make the playoffs. There is some institutional history of choking in this kind of situation but we will not mention that. Given how hard it has been for them to win the 8th and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs, one suspects that the playoffs could be a relatively brief experience for the Caps players prior to the start of their offseason. No matter, it’s a big game tonight.
The one thing we have going for us, logistically, is that we don’t have to watch any basketball tonight. Sure, the Wizards are playing, and they’re on TV, but the team has been kind enough to conduct itself in a manner this year in which viewing has been strictly optional. To put it nicely.