Fired St. Louis Cardinals Exec To Plead Guilty To Hacking Houston Astros Front Office

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)

Sports-related chicanery often ends in suspensions and the occasional expulsion, but rarely does it rise to the level of actual crime. Then again, it’s not every day that one team illegally breaches the private network of another.

Last year, we told you that the FBI was investigating whether or not someone at the St. Louis Cardinals had hacked into the Houston Astros’ network to gain access to sensitive and proprietary information about the team.

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa is going to plead guilty to five of 12 charges related to the hacking, which first occurred as far back as 2012.

Back in 2011, Houston hired general manager Jeff Luhnow away from the Cardinals front office, where he had been the Vice President of Baseball Development.

Once he arrived at Houston, Luhnow built a database called “Ground Control” — containing information like stats, player evaluations, and trade negotiations — that was similar to the “Red Bird” one he’d used at St. Louis.

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

In July, the Cardinals fired Correa, reportedly for his involvement in the breach. His attorney pointed the finger back at Luhnow, effectively accusing the Astros GM of misusing proprietary info gleaned from his years with the Cards. Luhnow and the Astros have denied these claims.