The FBI reportedly found evidence that St. Louis Cardinals officials broke into the Houston Astros’ internal database of player personnel information, according to the New York Times. Parts of that database, including updates on trade negotiations, were then published on Deadspin. The bureau has subpoenaed the team and MLB, and while no specific individuals have been named, this has the potential to be one of the biggest and weirdest scandals in baseball history.
The breach involves a database created by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who used to work with the Cardinals and ran a similar database in St. Louis. It appears that Luhnow used the same passwords in both places, leaving the database open to mischief:
The intrusion did not appear to be sophisticated, the law enforcement officials said. When Mr. Luhnow was with the Cardinals, the organization built a computer network, called Redbird, to house all of their baseball operations information — including scouting reports and player personnel information. After leaving to join the Astros, and bringing some front-office personnel with him from the Cardinals, Houston created a similar program known as Ground Control.
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.
According to the report, MLB asked the FBI to look into the source of the leak after we published it. The bureau discovered that Ground Control “had been entered from a computer at a home that some Cardinals officials had lived in” which led to the investigation and today’s news.
The Cardinals officials under investigation have not been disciplined or suspended. MLB said in a statement that it has “fully cooperated with the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database.”
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