Keeping up with the Clemens trial might not be worth the time

So far, two jurors in the Roger Clemens perjury trial have been dismissed for, during mid-testimony, falling asleep.

This news is difficult to believe, almost implausible, in fact. How is it that all those other jurors have managed to stay awake?

In case you haven't been following the trial ... oh, let's cut the nonsense. Of course, you haven't been following the trial. We're guessing, at this point, Clemens himself is barely keeping up with the details, so many of which are minute enough to fit on the tip of a syringe's needle.

Now, there certainly are a few lonely souls very much into the proceedings. This is still one of the finest pitchers ever, an 11-time All-Star.

But, we'd like to remind you, there also are people very much into "Extreme Couponing," a reality television show about shoppers who use coupons to — you guessed it — the extreme.

The average sports fan stopped paying attention to this case so long ago that Clemens might as well have injected himself with peanut butter while standing on his head on the mound at Yankee Stadium.

The right-hander, two-time World Series champion or not, threw his final big league pitch nearly five years ago. In a world that spins faster with each posted Tweet, Clemens no longer is even relevant.

This is a trial about an alleged lie that happened four years ago concerning an alleged injection that happened 11 years ago. Eleven years ago!

Even worse, the general public seems to be over the subject of steroids like Kris Humphries is over Kim Kardashian. Performance-enhancing drug suspensions happen in sports now and the ripples are no bigger than those made by news of another strained knee ligament.

To its journalistic credit, ESPN has been monitoring the trial closely. The outlet even has a reporter providing instant updates via Twitter. And yet, here's what someone else working for ESPN's website just wrote: "Have you been keeping up with the Roger Clemens trial? Of course not, because it's incredibly boring."

This time around is nothing like the perjury trial of Barry Bonds, which included testimony from a former mistress who spoke of a weakening in Bonds' sex drive and of his private parts shriveling. That drama had moments that caused ears to come up.

Clemens' trial, on the other hand, has had moments that caused lunches to come up. Prosecutor Courtney Saleski, in response to the defense's cross-examination, prepared an expert witness last week by announcing to the courtroom, "I want to ask you some questions about pus."

The interest in this case isn't helped by the choices available to the rooting public. You're either pulling for Clemens, which wasn't easy even when he was winning his seven Cy Young Awards, or you're pulling for the government, which has burned through millions of dollars that could have been misused by our elected officials in so many other ways.

This trial now has lasted six weeks, the length of spring training, and the interest in it is less than the interest in spring training scores.

On Friday, ESPN's Lester Munson wrote of the trial, "... it's heading for a seventh game that will likely go into extra innings."

Great. No wonder people are dozing off. And we're not even close to hearing the eye-closing arguments yet.

Judge Reggie Walton repeatedly has urged the lawyers to quicken their pace, telling them to "move on to something important." And where's this guy when the Royals and Mariners are making 12 pitching changes and taking four hours to play nine innings?

Even Walton, though, has become distracted. Early on, he warned people not to bring cell phones into his courtroom ... and then his own phone rang.

Who knows? Maybe, just to be safe, he had requested a wake-up call.

A USA Today poll found that 68 percent considered the Clemens trial to be a waste of time and money. Of the remaining 32 percent, it's unknown how many failed to answer because they were sleeping.

The first juror who nodded off was a 27-year-old man characterized by multiple news reports as "chronically unemployed." During juror questioning, he actually told prosecutors he would "rather be asleep" than serve on the jury.

The second sleeper was a woman who works as a supermarket cashier. Who knew checking out old ladies buying 20 cans of cat food was more exciting than deciding the fate of a former league MVP?

Bear in mind that, before testimony began, the judge had made a point to tell the jurors that coffee was available, if needed. And it was free!

How's that for an entertaining twist? In a trial about steroids and human growth hormones, the only thing proven beyond a shadow of a doubt so far has been the failure of caffeine as a performance-enhancer.

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