George Steinbrenner and college football

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Bill Madden has a great piece up over at the Daily News today. Inspired by the bowl game that will be played in Yankee Stadium on Thursday, Madden reminds us of George Steinbrenner’s many ties — and undeniable love — for college football.  It’s a good history lesson.

Also, if you’re at all familiar with the fanatical and nutsy rah-rah world of big time college football — as those of us who live in places like Columbus, Ohio are — it goes a long ways toward explaining  Steinbrenner’s behavior as a baseball owner.  Really, is there anything he did while he ran the Yankees that was all that different than what any of your more unhinged athletic directors or boosters do at Big Football State University?

Finally, it’s a great excuse to use this pic of 1970s George Steinbrenner. So there’s that.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.