News broke yesterday that the St. Louis Cardinals were being investigated for stealing information from the Houston Astros. Here’s how the world reacted.
By now, if you’re a baseball fan at all, you’ve heard a little something about the FBI investigating the St. Louis Cardinals because of a Cardinals employee hacking the Houston Astros. If you’re unfamiliar with the details of the case, I refer you to this well written article by Alex Smolokoff on the topic. The reaction of the internet was anything from shock and dismay, pure joy, or naïve attempts at excusing the behavior because it was done by The Almighty Cardinals.
I thought it would be fun to bring you a little bit from the world wide web. Let’s start with some funny (or not so funny) jokes!
Cardinals exit interview:
"What made you seek other employment"
"What is your mother's maiden name?"
"And the name of your first pet?"
— FuzzBeed Eli (@FuzzBeedEli) June 16, 2015
No question the Cardinals should receive a postseason ban this year. The Pirates too.
— Ben Finfer (@BenFinfer) June 16, 2015
I didnt think people in St Louis had the internet yet. #Cardinals
— Silvy (@WaddleandSilvy) June 16, 2015
The Cardinals hacked into the Phillies network first, but only found a game of Solitaire.
— D.J. Short (@djshort) June 16, 2015
There was a large segment of the internet that just couldn’t believe it, mostly because it seems like something made up or for laughs. The further you dig into it, the more idiotic the whole thing seems. The Tweet from Will Leitch is on point; this doesn’t sound like some big corporate strategy for taking down all the smaller teams around you, it sounds like a few idiots that somehow got Jeff Luhnow’s password and thought “Hey, you know what might be a good idea…”
But again, this is the Cardinals that we’re talking about, so it’s hard not to revel in their buffoonery. With how smarmy their fans can be, and the whole “The Cardinal Way” thing, they’ve opened themselves up as a target when they allow this kind of stuff. More from the internet:
The Cardinal Way: Corporate espionage? The big question in the St. Louis hacking case is: How high did it go? Column: http://t.co/cgkvUuag9A
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 16, 2015
— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 16, 2015
Everyone involved in the Cardinals hacking scandal seems to be an idiot: http://t.co/dnmUebsEN3
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) June 16, 2015
There are always going to be those that pander, those that try to force a narrative, and those that act as apologists for a sports team to which they owe nothing. But, we can’t leave their voice out:
— Casey Stern (@CaseyStern) June 16, 2015
— Baseball's Best Fans (@BestFansStLouis) June 17, 2015
In the end, what matters the most is to what level the Cardinals organization was complicit in stealing information from the Astros. If it was just an employee or employees acting on their own to mess with Luhnow, there will be legal implications but the Cards could come out of this just fine. If the information that was found was used, in any way, we could be looking at implications beyond the legal ones that befall the employees.
Major League Baseball has a major interest in coming down on this like the hammer of Thor. Even if the Cardinals, as an organization, weren’t involved in the process of viewing or using stolen information, they’re responsible for employees that they’re paying and the crimes they commit in the process of doing their jobs. Outside of any possible legal repercussions (which I expect will be light, outside of the employees directly involved), MLB will likely want to set a precedent in handing down a large punishment to discourage anyone from thinking about doing something similar.
What that punishment will be, none of us will know. It’s two different sports, but which is worse: slightly deflating footballs for a competitive advantage, or stealing information from a former employee that works in a rival organization? Luhnow was credited with drafting guys like Matt Carpenter, Michael Wacha, and Lance Lynn. They’ve had 14 players on their roster this year that were drafted when Luhnow was the Scouting Director.
To say that the Cardinals couldn’t have obtained a competitive advantage from learning his thoughts on prospects or players in the upcoming draft is ignorant. Who knows where this all goes from here, but where there’s smoke there’s fire, and if this goes up higher than just a few rogue employees, the Cards are going to get punished.
Hey, maybe they’ll lose those “competitive balance” draft picks!