We’ve given the batters a pass, while telling the pitchers to hurry up.
A typical plate appearance goes something like this: pitch, swing and miss, then the batter steps out, takes a practices swing, pulls at his jersey, straightens his helmet, looks at the third base coach, takes another practice swing, steps in the box with hand up to tell the umpire he’s not ready, digs in and finally he’s ready.
All of this while the pitcher is standing on the mound ready to go for some portion of the batter’s routine. This happens almost 300 times per game and on many occasions it has nothing to do with the pitcher taking too much time.
Why not make the batter stay in the box or limit his routine?
Just cutting two seconds off each pitch would theoretically shorten the game by 10 minutes, and four seconds per pitch would reduce games by 20 minutes. Some of the batter routines seem to go on for seven or eight seconds between each pitch.
I’m not saying pitchers aren’t to blame to some degree, but the pitchers are painted as the bad guys simply because play can’t start without them. I believe the batter holds some, and I dare say most, of the responsibility for the slowness of the game pace.