“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.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.