Bizarre: The New York Times is reporting, and Major League Baseball has confirmed, that the FBI is investigating the league’s St. Louis Cardinals for hacking into data and records belonging to the Houston Astros. The situation involves Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who worked for the Cardinals until 2011.
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.
Authorities apparently became involved after leaked information from the Astros’ network was posted online and picked up by Deadspin in June 2014. MLB requested the investigation, and “agents soon found that the Astros’ network had been entered from a computer at a home that some Cardinals officials had lived in,” the Times says. (Baseball writer Rob Neyer points out that “top-ranking ‘officials’ usually don’t live together,” which “suggests lower-level employees did the actual hacking,” though high-level executives still could have known about it.)
The Astros and Cardinals both played in the National League Central division until the 2013 season, when the Astros moved to the American League West. Both teams are currently in first place, and the Cardinals have the league’s best record.