Sign (stealing) of the times: Fight Apple watches with bluetooth earpieces.

So Major League Baseball is limiting mound visits in an effort to speed up the pace of play in baseball.

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I’m a fan of speeding up the pace of play. If I can see the same game in two to 2-1/2 hours—as in days of yore and Ernie Banks; my youth—instead of 3 to 4 hours, sign me up.

At the same time, when Cubs ace Jon Lester and other players don’t like a limit of six mound visits, that counts, too.

Here’s what Lester said in a report by my former Sun-Times colleague, Gordon Wittenmyer.

“I get the mound-visit thing,” said Lester, whose catcher, Willson Contreras, might make more trips to the mound than any other catcher in the league. “But also, what people [who] aren’t in the game don’t understand is there’s so much technology now, there’s so many cameras on the field, that every stadium now has a camera on the catcher’s crotch. So they know the signs before you even get there.

“Now we’ve got Apple watches. Now we’ve got people being accused of sitting in a tunnel [trying to steal signs]. There’s reasons behind the mound visit. He’s not just coming out there asking what time I’m going to dinner or ‘How you feeling?’ There’s reasons behind everything, and I think if you take that away, it takes away from the beauty of the baseball game.”

Here’s my suggestion. . .

As much as I’m an old-school baseball guy, it’s 2018. The Cubs have a won a World Series. In this digital, high-tech bluetooth world, there’s a remedy.

Would it be so terrible if pitchers and catchers had little ear-pieces?

Put your catcher’s mitt over your mouth and give the pitcher the sign. If the pitcher doesn’t like it, let him talk back.

Hell, I’d even let the manager and pitching coach in on it. The whole darned infield and outfield.

I’m sure there are 28 reasons why this is not a good idea.

Tell me them, if you like. And I’ll say, ``Never mind.’’

Then again, as old-school as I am—I would lose the Designated Hitter, and wipe out all those phony PED-aided home-run records—I understand that baseball has moved on in many areas—for good reason.

You can’t break up double plays like a linebacker. You can’t run over the catcher like a pulling guard. Those make sense.

I don’t really understand why eliminating the need to throw four pitches for an intentional walk makes any difference. And I kinda think that moving the Wrigley Field bullpens out of the view of actual balllpark spectators is one more reason for me to stay on my couch and watch my HD TV.

But if opposing teams are using Apple watches—I don’t completely understand how that works—to steal signs, what’s the big deal if the pitcher and catcher can talk to each other with earpieces?

I know. Sign-stealing is a time-honored baseball tradition. We just don't have time for it in fast-paced modern world. MLB has pretty much acknowledged that.

Heck, I would also vote for the electronic strike zone, although I’m not overly concerned about umpires’ weird strike zones. A lot of unintended consequences involved in that.

But if NFL quarterbacks can have headsets to counter stadium noise, why would it be a big deal for pitchers to have headsets to counter sign-stealing?