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


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.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.