Jury selection in Clemens case drags along, has its moments of entertainment

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We’re three days into jury selection in the Roger Clemens perjury case and they still don’t have 12 people in the box. Like I said last week: it happens. It can be slow if everyone is being super thorough, and that appears to be the case here.

But hey, it’s not our meter running on Rusty Hardin’s legal fees, and the prosecutors who are being paid by our taxes are on salary, so no need for us to fret about it. Besides, there has been some great fun in the jury selection process that we wouldn’t have had if they did it like your run of the mill armed robbery case and sat the panel quickly. Fun like this:

One woman who made it through to the next round is a former attorney turned yoga instructor who said she saw some of Clemens’ congressional testimony and thought ”he seemed sincere.” The judge asked her, ””Have you ever heard about performance enhancing drugs in yoga?” She said no, ”we tend to be vegetarians.” But she thinks that some drugs should be legal and U.S. drug laws ”are a bit heavy-handed.”

Another potential juror, a lawyer for the Federal Communications Commission, said she does not watch sports on television and doesn’t even know how to turn on the TV at home. She said her husband told her it looked like she was being called for the Clemens jury and she got him confused with all-star Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Roberto Clemente, who she apparently didn’t realize died in 1972

Another woman praised Michael Vick and said “I thought he was done wrong.”  Seriously.

I’m guessing that the prosecutors kept her and the yoga lady off the jury. Unclear how the no-TV/Roberto Clemente woman cuts. I’d probably not want her on any jury I had to persuade of anything. Without decades of TV softening her brain, she may not be as malleable as others.

Oh, and given that she works for the FCC — the people who regulate television content — and that she doesn’t watch TV should probably tell you something, folks. And I’ll just come out and say it: all non-sports television content is designed to destroy and control your lives.  Except the stuff on NBC, that is. No problems there, I can assure you.

(thanks to Kiwicricket for the heads up)

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.