“Free” donuts cost Astros fan $237 (and the “donut” versus “doughnut” debate rages on)

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Throughout each day Craig and I “claim” stories to write about. For instance, I’ll instant message him and say, “I’ll take the David Purcey trade” and then he’ll say something like, “OK, sucker.”

However, sometimes there’s no claiming necessary. If there’s a story involving bourbon he gets it and if there’s a story about donuts I get it.

So here’s this beauty from the Houston Chronicle

Bob Choate, a 56-year-old Astros fan, won a “year’s supply of donuts” while attending fan appreciation day at Minute Maid Park last October. In my case that would likely involve approximately 25,000 donuts, putting Shipley’s Do-Nuts in Houston out of business, but per the rules of the contest he instead received 315 coupons for a donut-and-coffee combination worth around $3 apiece.

As if insulting a person’s ability to eat significantly more than 315 donuts in one calendar year wasn’t bad enough, Choate had to declare the prize value on his taxes and that ended up costing him $237. And he hasn’t used even 10 of the coupons yet. Despicable.

Anyway, there’s a somewhat happy ending to the story, which is that the owner of Shipley’s Do-Nuts reimbursed the $237, Choate also agreed to make a matching donation of $237 to charity, and the Astros gave him a signed Jeff Bagwell baseball and four tickets for his troubles.

Add it all up and the guy has essentially spent $237 on an autographed baseball, four Astros tickets, eight donuts, and eight cups of coffee, which seems like kind of a ripoff for a “prize” unless you’re one of those weirdos who enjoys donating to charity and being a good person.

On a related note: By reading the Houston Chronicle article about this whole situation and Deadspin’s amusing parsing of the story, I just realized that a large percentage of the country spells them “doughnuts” rather than “donuts.” As you can tell by the preceding paragraphs I refuse to be one of those people (I’m a food rebel, as established previously), but the idea that the alternate spelling went unnoticed by me, one of the world’s foremost donut/doughnut consumers, for the past 28 years is mind blowing.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.