top of page

Less Terrible: Joe West vs. Ryan Braun

I apologize in advance for the trauma.

Never challenge me to do something. Everyone who knows me well has learned that lesson, and today is that day of reckoning for my friends at the DNA. So when I saw this the other day, I knew eventually a farticle such as this very farticle would materialize:

Blaaame Tinaaaaaa!

When considering the abject terribleness of Joe West and Ryan Braun, there were some questions I had to ponder. 1) How does their awfulness directly impact the Cubs? 2) How terrible are they as human beings in the general sense? And 3) has anything good ever resulted of their general badness?

Question 1: The Cubs Conundrum

The Cowboy Joe Ump Show is not new, and like every other team, the Cubs have a long history of frustration with the be-wattled official. Even the most even-keeled player can lose his temper over something frustrating West does seemingly out of nowhere as seen in this 1991 game where Andre Dawson quite literally threw 17 bats on the field after almost punching West in the face:

(Note: Dawson was fined, and on his check to the league he wrote, "Donation for the blind." Like a boss.)

West is painfully arrogant, his decisions are arbitrary, and to the naked eye he simply isn't very good at his job. That said, every time West does something dumb against the Cubs it brings out Cubs legend Kerry Wood to (very validly) complain about it. Wood is typically super quiet on social media unless he's talking about charity events, so you know it must be bad for him to emerge just to complain about Cowboy Joe.

Ugh indeed, Kerry. Still, it's almost worth Joe's antics if it lures one of the Cubs' legendary pitchers out to the Twitters to converse with us plebes over how much we all hate one single umpire. It's unifying, yeah? Plus, Joe's unilaterally terrible to everyone. It's not like he plays favorites--be it the Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, or whoever... your team will get screwed by Cowboy Joe. And he pushed Jonathan Papelbon that one time. How can you be mad at that?

Braun? Well, Braun is a different animal. See, when it comes to the Cubs he's almost guaranteed to get that big hit at the exact worst possible time.

Go ahead. Let the hate flow through you.

There are more of those. A lot more. I'm not adding them here because I don't want you to hate me. Not to mention the Cubs have to see Braun a whole lot more each year than they do Cowboy Joe. So in the question of who is less terrible where the Cubs are concerned, I think I know my answer.

Winner: Joe West

Question 2: The General Awfulness Paradox

Sometimes I think we think about Cowboy Joe too much. He's so... THERE. Like, he's around ALL THE TIME in baseball. So we think he must be awful in general because he's such a terrible umpire. Still, Cowboy Joe seems only awful when it comes to baseball. Like, as long as he's away from the game, he's just writing his little country songs and hanging with his family and not hurting anyone.

But Braun. BUT BRAUN. BUTT BRAUN. Do I even need to get into what Braun did? It wasn't just the 'roids, but the lying and trying to frame an innocent person for his dirty test. The man's name was Dino Laurenzi, a sample collector for the MLB who Braun characterized at the time as an "anti-semetic Cubs fan." Braun made amends with Laurenzi after weeks of lying to the fans and press and even winning an appeal of his suspension. Ultimately he got caught, had to admit all the lies, and took a 65-game suspension. No word on whether his 2011 MVP trophy is proudly displayed in his home.

Also, frankly, his attitude just kind of sucks. It's no fun to watch a guy yell at his MVP teammate over a TOOTBLAN. Like, dude... at least that guy deserves his trophy even if he is a pill.*

*Pending any cheating that may or may not be happening at Miller Park, obvs.

Winner: Joe West

Question 3: Is Their Badness of Any Use at All?

When I first started writing this section, I thought it might actually be the one Braun could win. After all, he's kind of a screw up and has given us just a whole mess of GIFs and clips we use liberally whenever we're feeling sad. Like this one...

And this one...

Ooh, OOH, and this one!

Sorry, I'm gonna Bert myself into this farticle. I cannot help but add this gem of Bryan Raun. - AssMatt

I mean, those are all classics! But then I remembered that without Joe West we wouldn't have the mother of all GIFs here at the DNA. A GIF so valuable around here that we thrived off the chuckles it gave us for a good week straight. May I present...

Behold Babe Kapler in all his knuckleheaded glory, so flustered by Cowboy Joe that he can only gather his thoughts, realize he has none, and let out an exasperated, "OH!" It's funny because it just IS, and we would never have had it without the abilities of one Cowboy Joe West.

Winner: Joe West

Ultimately, I feel I have proved my initial point that yes, regardless of how frustrating he is, I would rather have Joe West than Ryan Braun. QED.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page