Ryan Braun gripes about spring training: 'We don't get paid by the hour'

Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun (8) greets teammates prior to a spring training baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Friday, March 10, 2017, in Phoenix. It was Braun's first spring training game of the season. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Ryan Braun bumping fists before his first spring training game of the season on March 10, 2017. (AP Photo)

Right now, we’re in the doldrums of spring training. There are just a few weeks left until the start of the season, but it couldn’t seem further away. Can’t we just get to the real games already?

And we found out on Thursday that there’s one major league player who absolutely agrees with that sentiment. Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has some very strong feelings about spring training.

Don’t hold back, Ryan. Tell us how you really feel.

Braun’s complaints aren’t without merit. Spring training is long and the games don’t count. With just a few weeks left until the regular season, it’s understandable that players are chomping at the bit to get into some real game action.

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But spring training has the word “training” in it for a reason. It’s for the team as a whole just as much as it is for the players. Braun’s spot on the roster is guaranteed, but the Brewers — and every other team out there — have decisions to make about their 25- and 40-man rosters. Some teams still have position battles and rotations to decide. And some players themselves still need to sharpen up.

Speaking of players who need to sharpen up, Braun himself is hitting .222/.300/.333 through four spring training games. (Yes, he made those comments after playing in just four games. Four!) Though considering what Braun said, that batting line probably isn’t indicative of his overall readiness, since he pretty much admitted that he’s not trying very hard. If you name your favorite spring training hit as a lineout to center so you can immediately drop the bat and sit down in the dugout, you might not be taking things too seriously.

But spring training doesn’t exist just to annoy Ryan Braun. He’s part of a team, and the team needs to get ready, even if he feels he’s wasting his time. No, he’s not being paid hourly, but he’s being paid $20 million to play baseball this year. That’s tied for the 34th highest MLB salary of 2017.

So let’s do an experiment. If Ryan Braun were being paid hourly, how much would he make? If we count all the days of the regular season plus spring training (from mid-February through a few days in October), we come to roughly 230 days. Even though players don’t get paid for spring training, we can include it here for the sake of this experiment.

On game days, baseball players are at the stadium for roughly 14 hours. We can be generous and assume 14 hours of work for every single day, even on off days (to account for travel time, extra work and other team obligations, though it very well could be more). That’s 3,220 hours over the course of spring training and the regular season. Divide his salary of $20 million by 3,220 hours, and we get an hourly salary of $6,211.18. And if Braun is being paid for every single hour of every day of spring training and the regular season, even when he’s watching TV or sleeping, he’d be making $3,623.19 per hour.

Don’t you feel sorry for Braun?

Being a baseball player is hard work. No one is denying that. And Braun isn’t under any obligation to like spring training or hide his feelings about it. That kind of honesty from baseball players is refreshing, and surely many other players feel the same way he does. But spring training is part of the job, even for 10-year MLB veterans like Braun. It could be shorter, but it is what it is.

Spring training is about getting the whole team ready for the long, grueling season and not the whims and feelings of one well-paid player who is tired of exhibition games after playing in only four of them.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher