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Keller @ Large: Like baseball, politics needs new rules

Keller @ Large: Like baseball, should there be new rules for politics?
Keller @ Large: Like baseball, should there be new rules for politics? 02:36

BOSTON - It's almost time to play ball - for real. And if you make it out to the frozen tundra a.k.a Fenway Park Thursday, you will see some dramatic rules changes.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says they surveyed their target market and got "a very clear indication from fans they wanted a game with more action, better pace."
Which got us thinking about another national pastime that needs improving if it wants to draw interest and stay relevant - politics. For instance:

* Baseball now has a pitch clock. You get 15 seconds to throw with the bases empty, 20 seconds with runners on.
The posturing blowhards at Congressional hearings need a time clock too, badly. Dock them a grand from their salary for every ten seconds they go over their time limit.

* The bases are now bigger, by three inches, to promote more running and maybe a few more steals of home.
The rest of us need more incentive to run as well - away from the harsh interpersonal conflict our toxic political culture is promoting these days. Many households have adopted a "no politics" rule for Thanksgiving dinners. Unless we want all family meals to resemble the slandering and finger-pointing that characterizes our politics today, maybe that ban needs to be extended to all social get-togethers.

* And get this - the shift is no longer allowed, no more extreme infielder positioning that smothers offense.

Extreme positioning is an issue in politics as well. And if we want to push back against the big-money that often flows to the pols who score 100% on those ubiquitous special-interest ratings, let's make it pay to see some shades of gray by barring any pol who gets a perfect grade from taking donations from one of those pressure groups.
Our political institutions suffer from some of the same problems that drove baseball to change its rules - a stilted presentation too heavily manipulated by external factors (for baseball, metrics; for politics, money) that leaves people cold and causes more damage than it cures. If these changes work for baseball, let Congress et al take heed. 

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