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Giant Death Skullz of Doom with Creole Pasta

I swear, I saw Giant Death Skullz of Doom throughout last night's Nats Winter Caravan finale.

The finale took place at the ESPN Zone. It was emceed by radio man Charlie Slowes. It featured Nook Logan, Mike O'Connor and Ryan Zimmerman in a baseball cook-off. It featured about 45 fans, many of whom had reappeared at various Caravan events, and a few empty tables. It also featured three other bloggers, with video cameras and tape recorders and still cameras. They were talking about going home last night to immediately post the highlights. I went home to eat cereal. This is the coming demise of big media, or at least, of offbeat video-heavy humor-aspiring big media sports blogs. Hence the Giant Death Skullz of Doom. The restaurant provided the Creole pasta.

I'll plow on, assuming you, like me, have yet to check out these other accounts of the contest.

Unexpectedly, the three meals were already cooking before the players arrived. I had imagined an Iron Chef scenario, where our baseball-playing heroes would be challenged to create the best possible six-course meal, featuring a special ingredient of Cracker Jack, leading to occasional bouts of frustration as last year's NL Almost Rookie of the Year attempted to perfect his Cracker Jack Sorbet accompanied by Cotton Candy jus and drizzled with goat cheese, caper and Cracker Jack puree, but sadly, that's not how it went down. Each player had an ESPN-approved recipe, and an ESPN-employed sous-chef (which apparently means "head executive chef in charge of everything.")

Ryan Zimmerman would be paired with Andre McFadden at the Steak & Stuffed Pepper station. Mike O'Connor would be paired with Nicole Hatcher at the Shrimp & Creole Pasta station. And Nook Logan would be paired with Tonya Snowden at the Crusted Fish Plate station. The three helpers started cooking the pasta and rice while the baseball players were still downstairs eating dinner.

(Btw, I didn't realize this, but Yoda has apparently started working as an ESPN Zone chef. The recipe for Steak & Stuffed Pepper included the following ingredients: Spice Blackening, Pepper Poblano Stuffed, Cheese Pepper Jack Shredded, Sauce Chipotle Mayo and Salsa Avocado. Such a strange word order, it was.

Oh, and the Sesame Crusted Fish Plate included, mysteriously, an ingredient called "Spice ESPN." They're now branding spices? What's in "Spice ESPN," anyhow? Something to do with Sean Salisbury, I guess.)

Nook, tasting a sauce. Bloggers complain that he's relying on his right side. (By Sports Bog)

None of the helper chefs knew any of the Nationals. "We're always in the kitchen," East Coast Regional Chef Gary Patterson pointed out.

I asked Nats exec and celebrity judge Al Maldon who would be the favorite.

"I mean, do they look like they've cooked anything in their lives?" he replied.

Good point. Nook, as previously mentioned, said his specialty was eggs; he was cooking grouper, which he'd never eaten before. He displayed the most confidence of the group; "look good, don't it?" he said during the early stages. I installed him as the immediate favorite. Mike O'Connor appeared timid and a tad nervous, which he denied. I installed him as the immediate longshot. Zim said his specialty was "anything with a grill," so the steak seemed promising. His helper chef, Dre, attempted to show Zim how to chop garlic with a flowing wrist movement, but Zim went with a horror-movie-slasher-death approach.

Meanwhile, Charlie Slowes roamed the audience, advising kids not to throw curve balls because of possible growth plate damage. Oh, and Screech showed up and whistled a lot and made his usual assortment of pelvic thrusts.

The four judges included Maldon (the Nats exec), Patterson (the ESPN chef), WUSA sports person Sara Walsh and some 12-year-old kid named Sam Weaver. The judging could not possibly have been more humorless. Zim apologized for the steak being too tough. Nook promised to give his mother a special hug and kiss the next time he saw her, in honor of her years of hard work in the kitchen. Bloggers scurried about, landing exclusive interviews.

The winning plate. Lovely. Note the wasabi peas. (By Sports Bog)

Anyhow, Nook won, as I would have guessed. He had 51 points, and the other guys both had 48. One of the categories was "originality," which seems tough to manage when you're following an official ESPN recipe with the aid of an official ESPN helper chef, but Nook's meal definitely looked the nicest. Plus, he gave the best post-stove interview.

"Half of the things we mixed I've never even seen before," he said.

"I mean, steak?" Zim said, incredulous at his defeat. "Steak is a lot better than pasta and fish. I really don't know what happened. "

"I just liked the different taste between the fish and the sweet pasta," celebrity judge Sam Weaver explained.

Anyhow, MissChatter's photos are here, and her video is here. Screech's Best Friend has yet to blog the event, although he has another massive Bowden interview. And here are Oleanders' photos and event summary.

And as long as we're linking to blog items, Todd Jacobson gets Ryan Zimmerman's reaction to being named the third sexiest man of Hampton Roads.

P.S.: Some of Zim's most ardent female fans at yesterday's event didn't take pay heed to the weather when assembling their outfits, if you know what I'm saying.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 30, 2007; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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nice purple and yellow shirt on Zim.

Posted by: Marc | January 30, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Was this competition as corrupt as the comedy thing?

Posted by: Kim | January 30, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

So I have a confession to make. I happened to be near the Nats store yesterday so I went down to their stop there (4:15 or so, where were you Dan?).

I'm somewhat enthusiastic about Nook, and O'Connor showed a lot of guts last year and won me over a bit, but the star was RZA. They were giving out cheap, free hats and I got one signed by the guys. But then I figured this was the perfect time to pick up something actually nice and have RZA sign it. The only problem is that there was no way to do that without first skipping Nook and O'Connor, effectively calling them scrubs and moving straight to RZA. I couldn't bring myself to do it, and I didn't want Nook scribbling all over a $300 RZA jersey. Dagger.

Posted by: bryc3 | January 30, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

No scurrying here! Remember, I'm the one who "had nothing" and failed at the mighty Bog intern role! Actually, I did think of a baseball question after saying that, but by then another blogger had taken Nook's attention away from me.

Bahaha on the female attire! Whew, that was one short skirt! Even I blushed!

Posted by: misschatter | January 30, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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