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#pounditTuesday, May 28, 2024

FBI investigating whether Cardinals were the ones who hacked Astros

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Roughly a year ago, 10 months of internal trade conversations from within the Houston Astros organization were posted on an anonymous hacker-type website. On Tuesday, we learned that the people responsible for the hack may be employees of another MLB team.

Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times reports that the St. Louis Cardinals are being investigated by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors to determine if front-office officials hacked into Houston’s internal networks to steal information. Investigators reportedly have evidence to show that Cardinals employees illegally gained access to internal discussions about trades, statistics and player evaluations.

Officials did not specify if high-ranking Cardinals executives were involved with the hack or aware that it was going on. Subpoenas have already been served on the Cardinals and Major League Baseball regarding electronic correspondence.

The Astros began working with the FBI immediately after the information was posted last June, but very few people imagined the alleged perpetrators working for another MLB club.

The club officials who are being investigated have not been punished in any way or put on leave by the Cardinals. Investigators have speculated that “vengeful front-office employees” executed the hack in order to “wreak havoc” on work done by former Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow, who is now the Astros general manager.

The Cardinals have been one of the most successful teams in baseball in recent years, and many have credited Luhnow for using his “Moneyball” approach to draft effectively and build a successful farm system. According to law enforcement officials, members of the Cardinals organization felt Luhnow took some of their ideas and information and has been using it with the Astros, who are currently in first place after a remarkable turnaround.

Investigators say the hack itself was not sophisticated, as the perpetrators simply used a master list of passwords that was created by Luhnow to gain access to a computer network he built with the Astros that was similar to one he created in St. Louis.

If the investigation concludes that the Cardinals are responsible, there’s no telling what the punishment will be from MLB officials. As you might expect, this type of alleged illegal activity is unprecedented in professional sports.

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