Did The St. Louis Cardinals Hack Houston Astros’ Front Office? FBI Investigating

The Astros and Cardinals in a bench-clearing dispute in 2008 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (Photo: Paul Thompson)

The Astros and Cardinals in a bench-clearing dispute in 2008 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (Photo: Paul Thompson)

Major League Baseball is a huge business and much of a team’s financial success depends on its ability to win on the field. So the idea of one team possibly breaching another team’s network to get information on player personnel isn’t very different from two rival manufacturers trying to steal trade secrets. That’s why the FBI is investigating claims that the St. Louis Cardinals might have hacked into the computer network for the Houston Astros’ front office.

The NY Times reports that investigators with the FBI and the Justice Dept. have found evidence that Cardinals officials breached the Astros’ network containing sensitive and proprietary information about the team. Subpoenas have been served for e-mails from both the Cardinals and from MLB.

A rep for the league tells the Times that it is aware of, and cooperating with “the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database.”

While no one has been named publicly, the Times reports that the Cardinals staffers under investigation are still employed by the team and not currently suspended.

The Cardinals are not just currently the best team in baseball, but the team’s 11 World Series wins are the most in National League history and second only to the NY Yankees for most in MLB history. Why would this vaunted club (who incorrectly think cardinals have bright yellow beaks) pick on the Astros, who have only ever appeared in a single World Series? The Astros aren’t even in the National League anymore, let alone the same division as the Cards.

The Times says it’s possible this is all just an attempt to troll Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who had been with the Cardinals as Vice President of Baseball Development before being hired by Houston in 2011.

At Houston, Luhnow reportedly built a computer database system similar to the one he’d used at St. Louis. That might have made it easy for Cards staffers to breach the Astros network. They simply looked at a list of passwords used by Luhnow when he was with the St. Louis team to see if they could use them to access the Houston network.

After information stolen from the Houston system was leaked online, an investigation tracked the source of the breach to a computer in a home where Cardinals staffers had lived.

The Times says that decision on the fates of those involved in the breach will likely not be made until after the federal investigation is complete.

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