St. Louis Cardinals Accused of Hacking Houston Astros’ Network


As the New York Times‘s Michael Schmidt reported on Tuesday morning, the St. Louis Cardinals are being investigated by the FBI and Justice Department regarding allegations that members of the team’s front office hacked into a Houston Astros personnel database. This is particularly noteworthy, of course, because Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow was a member of the Cardinals’ front office from 2003-2011, acting as the Vice President of Scouting and Player Development from 2006 on and heading the club’s draft efforts. Under Luhnow’s watch, the Cardinals were able to procure 12 of the players who are currently on their 25-man roster as entry-level prospects, plus first baseman Matt Adams and starting pitcher Lance Lynn, both of whom are currently injured.

The Times further details the Cards’ alleged violations, providing details about the information that was apparently taken:

"Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials. Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said."

Subpoenas have been served on the Cardinals, but it’s still a mystery as to which members of the front office were actually involved in the alleged hacking. Regardless, it should be interesting to see if and how these developments affect Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. The 46-year-old has been nothing but prolific during his eight-season tenure as the GM. However, a certain amount of responsibility undoubtedly will be cast upon him for the actions of his staffers, and it will be up to the DeWitt family and the rest of the Cardinals ownership group to decide whether Mozeliak’s reputation as an executive outweighs the serious consequences that could be in store for the Cardinals if the FBI investigation turns out to be warranted.

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We’ve seen professional sports franchises (most notably the New England Patriots) that have been caught committing corrupt acts, but none to the point at which the government needed to get involved. While franchise faces like Bill Belichick and Sean Payton have been able to rebound from serious scandals of which they allegedly had no knowledge, Mozeliak’s future would seem to be more up in the air with the black mark that an FBI investigation could cast upon the Cardinals organization.

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To make things even more odd, it seems that the Cardinals staffers weren’t as concerned with actually benefiting from the Astros’ information as they were with hurting Luhnow’s career with the Astros. There was apparently some concern that Luhnow had taken privileged Cardinals information and techniques to Houston, and Cardinals staffers then consulted a master list of passwords to their own database, including ones used by Luhnow and staffers that he had brought to Houston, in order to hack into the system. Considering that Houston went 106-218 during Luhnow’s first two years as their GM, while the Cardinals went to two National League Championship Series and made a World Series appearance, the whole situation likely could have been avoided if the Cards hadn’t been seeking revenge against Luhnow.

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