The New York Times just released a bombshell of a report, saying that the St. Louis Cardinals are currently being investigated by the FBI for hacking the Astros. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read the report yet. Instead, I’ve spent the last 20 minutes laughing, re-tweeting jokes about the Cardinals, and following the @BestFansStLouis twitter account, which is going to be gold today. I’ll give some hot takes on this after I read through the article, but I wanted to pass it along.

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41 COMMENTS

  1. Best twitter comment ever…

    Yall just jealous at how good the cardinals are, looking for any dirt on them cause they won’t lost

    I am jealous you can’t spell either

  2. Wish I’d kept the link, but best thing I saw today was this list of St. Louis Cardinals exit interview questions for employees leaving the organization:
    1. What is your mother’s maiden name?
    2. What is the name of your first pet?
    3. What make/model was your first car?
    4. What was the name of the elementary school you attended?
    5. What is your favorite color?

  3. It is a sad day for baseball that winning comes down to this. Questions: how many years has this been going on???? how many other teams were hacked???? The Cardinals have sunk to the level of Beleicheat and his gang. I can’t wait till their computer guru is hauled away in cuffs. To make it look good a few heads will roll.

  4. Pirates have employed an MIT grad computer guru for a number of years to handle computer security and other computer based issues and prospect data bases.

  5. Tim, I am dying over here with that twitter link. Being a fan of Pittsburgh sports in general, not even the steeler fans are this delusional or cocky. Granted, St. Louis is a great team but come on now. Also, when did the Chicago Blackhawks move to St. Louis. All I see is how many of their fans on @bestfansstlouis are happy the blackhawks won. HELLO, ST. LOUIS! YOU HAVE A HOCKEY TEAM THAT IS PRETTY GOOD!

      • Yep, I just don’t get it! They call themselves the best fans… all I see is band-wagon fans. Go to whatever team is sorta close by and winning games/championships. Since I graduated high school in 2007, I have been a bucs fan and regardless of how many losing seasons, I would have always rooted for them. I just don’t get fan bases sometimes.

  6. also if the astros email other clubs, a good hacker can back door there way into the other club’s email and maybe even the other clubs data base.

  7. I expect this to resolve itself pretty quickly. As in, The Cardinals brass will give up whoever did it, someone will spend a few months in a minimum security prison, and they’ll negotiate with Manfred on a punishment that has the appearance of being harsh, like loss of 1st or 2nd round draft pick, curtailment on international spending and a fine. I can’t stand Cardinals fans, but the organization itself really is one of the better-run sports franchises out there, and ownership knows it would be foolish to let this fester and damage the club’s brand. This isn’t the Patriots we’re talking about.

    • Really? While the Pats have a longer history of infractions, I don’t recall any felonies being committed against competitors. There is no doubt that someone at a higher level of the organization knew of this as a low level person would have no concern about the staff that moved to Houston taking information. That is a discussion for Senior Management.

      • Well, that depends on your definition of “higher level.” If you’re suggesting that ownership, GM Mozeliak or AGM Girsch had knowledge, I can very easily doubt that. The guy in charge of Baseball Information, which is at the crux of what the FBI believes motivated the hack, is at a manager level – 2 or 3 reporting levels below the AGM/GM. I think it’s very plausible this didn’t go higher than that level.

        As for motivation, keep in mind that Luhnow is known to have rubbed people the wrong way in St. Louis, and subsequently in Houston, particularly “baseball people.” That the hack also led to a leak that would be embarrassing to Luhnow personally suggests to me that it was carried out by someone with an axe to grind, and it’s easier to believe that would be someone who worked UNDER him than it would be a lateral colleague or superior.

        The Patriots not only have the longer list of infractions, but a history of non-cooperation with authorities investigating those transactions. That’s the contrast I’m proposing. The Cardinals have no such history. Furthermore keep in mind not only the severity of the transgression but the entity investigating it – the FBI carries a bit more weight than Roger Goodell. All reasons why the Cardinals’ brass should be more motivated to cooperate and get in front of this rather than let it drag the entire franchise down.

        We’ll find out soon enough.

        • I, for one, am shocked that more Pirates fans on this site have not reacted with a more logical, reasoned response. 😉

          • Possibly because every one is sick of the constant azz kissing by the National sports commentators ?

            • Ha, they deserve all they get; but lets not fall all over ourselves with the conspiracy theories. It’s not a good look.

              • NMR : after reading a variety of stories regarding the investigation, I am not falling over myself theorizing about conspiracy. I know why they did it, they know why they did it, and the orginizations who were on the other end of proposed deals also know why. And I suggest to you, it went just a bit higher than 2 or 3 levels below the GM.

                • Balogna. You were reading sensational hot takes like the garbage from Bill Plaschke.

                  If the Cardinals truly hacked the Astros system to obtain a competitive advantage, there would be absolutely no reason for them to turn around and leak said information to the public. None.

                  What they did was wrong and stupid but they did not gain any sort of advantage. Just silly.

    • Nope, this is corporate espionage we’re talking about (hence the FBI involvement), this isn’t just something that gets swept under the rug. Especially not with is already being so public. The cards are going down. It’s bird hunting season.

        • I do think the corporate espionage charge is intriguing but I do not see how this becomes more than a loss of face for the Cardinals and baseball giving them a token smack on the butt before sending them on their way back to the top of the Central Division.

          • From what I’ve read of the legal implications, this actually could be a big deal for the Cardinals if higher-ups are deemed to have been involved or aware, or if it is determined they should have been aware, as the organization could be criminally prosecuted with a fine of up to $5 million under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA).

            All parties deemed to have engaged directly in the criminal activity could face sentences of up to 5 years in prison per offense of gaining illegal access to a computer system plus fines of up to $100,000 under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and, if they are deemed to have, as individuals, engaged in corporate espionage under the EEA, those jail sentences run upwards of 10 years.

            Now, obviously most of this is worst-case kind of stuff from the Cardinals’ perspective, and there’s a pretty decent chance this was just one person whose position is not all that high up who had an axe to grind with Luhnow, that person will be prosecuted under the CFAA but not the EEA, will spend a year or two in jail and incur a large fine, and the organization will be absolved of responsibility, which is probably the best-case scenario for them.

            I expect this to fall somewhere in between. A few executives in moderately high positions will be prosecuted and convicted, serve some time in jail, and the organization will be hit with a small legal repercussion under the EEA, deeming them to have been negligent to have not known about the activity. The league is likely to step in, as well, with a significant fine (the cap is $2 million, but I don’t expect it to get that high unless the upper-brass are deemed culpable in federal court), and maybe the loss of a couple draft picks, international bonus pool money, or something similar.

            Either way, though, this reflects poorly on the organization, and it will make it harder for the team to engage in the trade market, I’d expect, since there is now public knowledge that, at the very least the team’s employee screening process failed to keep someone capable of and willing to engage in this type of activity out of their organization, which can lead to (warranted or unwarranted) suspicion of the organization, and that, for the Cardinals, is probably going to be the biggest blow from this.

          • Economic espionage, if proven, will get you a lot more than a ” token smack in the butt ” !

  8. So this is what a professional site looks like. Well worth my $2.99. I used to comment at pittsburghpirates.com Not anymore, that site is horrible, with bad language, name calling and constant fighting and threats.

  9. Why would they do this? It makes no sense but since the fed’s are involved this could result in a fine. I think MLB will make a token punishment and setup draconian rules to prevent such chicanery in the future. Be interesting if they used any of the material about Astro players and what that would mena with the Players Union.

    • “Investigators believe Cardinals officials, concerned that Mr. Luhnow had taken their idea and proprietary baseball information to the Astros, examined a master list of passwords used by Mr. Luhnow and the other officials who had joined the Astros when they worked for the Cardinals. The Cardinals officials are believed to have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros’ network, law enforcement officials said.”

      • What a bizarre reason to use for STL. Its basically “hey, we think he committed a crime against us and stole info. So rather than sue them and find out in discovery, we committed a crime to figure out what they had”. Whhhat.

  10. “Investigators believe Cardinals officials, concerned that Mr. Luhnow had taken their idea and proprietary baseball information to the Astros, examined a master list of passwords used by Mr. Luhnow and the other officials who had joined the Astros when they worked for the Cardinals. The Cardinals officials are believed to have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros’ network, law enforcement officials said.”

  11. How could this possibly happen – the Cardinals are a perfect organization and do everything right? This will be fun to watch but even if guilty, they will get nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

  12. I haven’t read the report yet either so maybe I will understand more once I do, but what is the competitive advantage here?

    • I would guess access to internal scouting information could give an edge in the trade market. Leaking absurd trade offers also hurts the perception of the Astros’ front office, which takes away some of their leverage in making trades. Perhaps the Cardinals were interested in one of the Astros’ assets, and they could use the internal scouting information and the embarrassment of having information released to help them in the trade negotiations.

    • Remember about a year ago when Houston had some info leaked, that ended up being about its trade talks situation with various teams? That doesnt look so great right now for STL. Not really an “on the field” advantage…but with more and more teams using advanced analytics and having unique methods, its actually a big deal. Its why its so tough for reporters to get great info on certain aspects of the teams thought process. Teams closely guard a lot of info now. I think STL just did it to get back at a former exec and held a grudge, but if they wanted to it could have been useful.

  13. My goodness, the lack of security for the Astros was embarrassing. It wasn’t even a hack, someone just found the passwords. I mean, come on, those should be changing regularly and stored securely not on a server, but in someone’s brain.

    Even so, the “hackers” are clearly in the wrong here, and the Cardinals should be punished for their impropriety. Of course, they’ll probably just lose next year’s competitive balance pick they somehow end up with again even though they clearly shouldn’t.

    • I actually was amazed when I saw that the Cardinals received a competitive balance pick and the Pirates didn’t. Mind-BLOWN.

    • Its absolutely still a hack if you use someone else’s password to steal all their info. Its low level crap, and stupid of the other side, but its hacking. Its also a huge joke that the STL IT situation is such that anyone other than the user has access to those passwords. There is no reason that those passwords should be so easily accessed.

  14. So that is how the cards became so great for so long. they must have been hacking the pirates while they were in last place all those years to see what not to do.

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