Well, that sure was quick. Roger Clemens, you are now free to go about your blustery business, at least for a while. This morning, Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial at the start of just the second day of Clemens’s perjury trial, after prosecutors played a video that included “double hearsay”‘”a reference to the Congressional testimony of Andy Pettitte’s wife, who had been ruled an ineligible witness in Walton’s court. The video apparently told jurors too much. Even so, the abbreviated trial revealed little. Not that anyone should have expected Roger Clemens’s trial to elevate the discourse on sports doping, but a line in the Associated Press recap of yesterday’s opening statements compels some gnashing of teeth. Of the defense attorney Rusty Hardin: “He said Clemens was not a natural athlete, and while his high school buddies were partying on Friday nights, he was working out.” Enough! Jury trials are often full of misdirection and melodrama, of course, but the persistence of this trope'”that hard work is the antithesis of steroid use'”is why the greatest pitcher of his generation, if not all time, is facing criminal charges in the first place. He was not, after all, on trial for having doped. He was on trial for having responded to the accusation that he doped, and to the implied diminishing of his legacy, by volunteering his unlikely innocence'”emphatically, under oath, in front of Congress. He was on trial for having worried that his alleged drug use would incline too many people to think him a lazy fraud, which he certainly is not. Perhaps we should blame Tony La Russa. “This guy goes to the gym every day and works,” he said, in 1998, when his record-breaking cleanup hitter, Mark McGwire, was outed for using androstenedione, a steroid-like supplement. Andro was legal'”you could buy it without a prescription at GNC'”and not on Major League Baseball’s list of banned substances at the time. La Russa’s comment was intended to be morally exculpatory. “All that hard work is being tainted by crap like this,” he went on, meaning the inquisition, not the supplement. Years later, McGwire admitted to having used substances more potent, and less legal, than andro. All that time spent in the gym was an indication only of his burning ambition'”and of the likelihood that he might know some drug pushers. Nobody uses steroids who isn’t also familiar with the Nautilus machine. Last week, I mentioned that I was looking forward to the possibility of Tim Wakefield’s supplanting Clemens at the top of the Red Sox all-time wins list. I admire Tim Wakefield. I do not much admire Roger Clemens. Yet I am willing to bet my career that Clemens labored more intensely during his playing days than does his former teammate. (Clemens, unlike Wakefield, would never have been tempted to sing harmony on “Take it Easy,” as I once watched Wakefield do at a charity event.) That isn’t a knock against Wakefield, who sometimes bridles at the notion'”stoked by dreamy, overweight backyard knuckleballers'”that he isn’t a real athlete, just as Clemens bridles at the notion that he chose the easy route. Wakefield was himself a record-breaking cleanup hitter in college. His natural talents are extraordinary. I have no idea how he spent his Friday nights while in high school.