3/2 Watkins survives pie, guacamole

Logan Watkins may never eat guacamole again but at least he’s tried it. Just don’t ask the Cubs infielder to eat plain oatmeal or blueberry pie again. Watkins and Dale Sveum first discussed food in January at the rookie development camp in Chicago. A 21st round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Watkins felt fortunate to sit next to the Cubs manager at a dinner. Then his fortune changed.

“He noticed I wasn’t exactly grabbing everything to eat on the table,” Watkins said of Sveum.

Watkins doesn’t have dietary restrictions, just a limited palate.

“Sure enough, we struck up a great conversation where I told him everything,” Watkins said.

What Watkins, 23, revealed was all the things he’d never eaten, including chocolate milk, apple pie and guacamole. Sveum was amazed, and for the past week, he’s done daily taste tests with Watkins. Before every team meeting at HoHoKam Park, Sveum would walk into the room, carrying a covered plate. He’d make eye contact with Watkins. The manager would go over the workout plan for the day, and then the infielder would be asked to come up to a table in the middle of the room to eat whatever surprise Sveum had.

Last Saturday, it was chocolate milk. On Sunday, it was an orange, which Watkins had to peel. Monday was plain yogurt with berries. Tuesday was blueberry pie, and that wasn’t good. Watkins got one day off because they ran out of time. On Thursday, he had plain oatmeal, which he called “terrible.”

Friday was the last day, and that’s when Sveum presented the guacamole. Watkins had been dreading that.

“Just on strictly appearance, I wasn’t a fan of guacamole,” Watkins said. “I’m still not a fan. It had no taste. That’s probably the last time I’ll try it.”

It wasn’t the mushy texture or the green color that was the problem.

“It had no taste,” Watkins said.

But it wasn’t the worst.

“Oatmeal took the cake,” Watkins said. “Blueberry pie was a close second. Everything else was not bad, I guess.”

Would he eat any of the foods again?

“Chocolate milk or yogurt would be the only two I’d consider,” he said. “The berries were OK.”

Watkins is a steak and potatoes kind of guy.

“My favorite food is bread, like a roll from ‘Texas Roadhouse,'” he said.

He’s even adventurous enough to put butter on them.

“I just kind of stay in my own lane and eat the same thing over and over again,” Watkins said. “[My family] didn’t bring me up to eat like that but that’s the way I grew up.”

It’s not that he had a bad reaction to anything he ate or endured a bout of food poisoning.

“It’s more that I’d never tried it because I never felt like it kind of thing,” he said.

Watkins was the Cubs’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, and this is his first big league spring camp. It’s one he and his stomach won’t forget. What does he eat in the Minors?

“I eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches because that’s there every day, and I’ll eat it every day,” he said. “Or chicken. I like chicken.”

The teasing was good natured, and Watkins handled it well, even if his tummy didn’t.

“I’m glad everybody got as much enjoyment out of it as they did because I didn’t,” he said. “It’s OK. It’s over now.”

Watkins can focus on prepping for the season and on the team bunt tournament. The young infielder has been impressive in that.

“I’m pretty excited,” Watkins said after the last taste test. “It’s over, and now I can concentrate on hitting.”

– Carrie Muskat

13 Comments

I really liked this human interest story. Watkins and Sveum should have their own reality TV show. Oranges and oatmeal are pretty tame. It’s not like he was asked to eat fried insects or blood milk. Mix it up, Logan. Add some jelly to that peanut butter sandwich. Try honeyed peanut butter! And, then, we will move onto the next course that will me something like this!: Wild sturgeon / jerusalem artichoke / lobster fritter / apple espuma / golden trout roe. Bon appetit.

Okay – now I am hungry! You just mentioned some of my favorites. Having grown up on an island off the coast of Maine 6 months of each year I am craving LOBSTER! Cooked on the rocks in a bed of seaweed, cracked on the rocks and dipped in butter. And now I am way off across the country in Oregon – oh yes, trout country! Watkins — you got to try everything! Broaden your palate. Good for Sveum for such a fun week! Good for Watkins for trying everything he was given. Now go out and play ball on that full tummy!

Do the Cubs seriously not have some sort of dietitian or nutritionist on staff? Thats actually a bit sad. How has Epstein not hired one? I even remember Garza last year talking about fried food at Popeye’s chicken being a pre-game favorite. Am I the only person who sees a problem with this? Eating the right foods can do so much for a person’s stamina and can even help to stave off injuries. Maybe if they weren’t stuffing their faces with fried and fast foods, they wouldn’t be falling asleep on the base paths and having minor injuries every other month.

You make a very good point. A good diet is essential for top performance in any activity. I would hope that the Cub’s management addresses this issue. Hopefully the players don’t stuff themselves just prior to a game! That would put anyone to sleep! Perhaps Carrie’s article will bring the needed attention to diet.

Yes, Chico, the Cubs have a nutritionist. That’s not the point of the story.

Thanks Carrie, Good to know! By the way – great fun story. Thank you.

Indeed. And yes, very good to know. Just a little worried about a new player who eats almost nothing but chicken and peanut butter sandwiches.. and then I remembered the statement from Garza last year. Anyway, thank you for the response.

Also, Watkins is crazy. guacamole is uber-deliciousness.

Taste is a funny thing. I can think of all the things I would have refused to eat as a young person that I really enjoy now. I wonder, “Why did I miss out for so long?” But taste evolves and matures. As they say, youth is lost upon the young. hehe

All this talk of delicious food today – I think I have gained 5 lbs. just thinking about it! And friends and neighbors are STILL bringing over cakes and cookies for my birthday which was a week ago. I plan to eat ALL of it! Such fun. Hope Watkins will make it to Wrigley so that he can put some gusto to his palate. I would guess that his teammates won’t let him forget this day and will probably be bringing him “treats to try” daily. Poor Watkins!

I could read stories like this about the players and the happenings in the locker room all day long.
Thanks, Carrie!

I totally agree! These stories are fun and I applaud Carrie for writing such amusing and informative articles. I think Sveum knows that his team will play better when they are able to bond over such antics and I think it also shows the fans that these guys are human beings rather than just robots to perform at our bidding. Thank you Carrie – and bring us more of the same!

Mamma Mia – you need new neighbors!!! I would love to share my goodies with you. I send you chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and chocolate covered fruit in my heart. Savor our friendship.

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