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Report: Cardinals being investigated by FBI for hacking Astros

The Cardinals squeaky clean reputation they've tried to make for themselves has taken a little bit of a hit.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

"The Cardinal Way is an organizational model for success. Scouting players, drafting players, developing players and shaping their personalities to fit into a winning environment. But the Cardinal Way is also an attitude." - Link

"It is the "Cardinal Way." And if it rubs some people the wrong way, sorry. The Cardinals aren't apologizing. They don't have to. They do it their way and it works." - Link

"In the letter, Matheny told the parents that he expected them to stay out of the way and not to get too involved as he vowed to teach their sons not only the right way to play baseball, but more importantly, teach them the importance of having high moral character" - Link

Those are, I guess, a bit dated. Here's a more recent article:

"The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating front-office officials for the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful teams in baseball over the past two decades, for hacking into the internal networks of a rival team to steal closely guarded information about player personnel." - LINK

Waaaiiiit a second. That last one doesn't fit in with the rest very well, does it? The Cardinals, the bastions of moral baseball, investigated for something that really doesn't seem all that moral? Huh. According to that New York Times report, the current theory is some front office employees were looking to get back at Jeff Luhnow, current manager of the Astros, after he left his position as a key member of the Cardinals scouting department.

And hacking is a little much, considering the report basically says the Cardinals used old passwords that former Astros employees who joined the Cardinals still knew.

This is also from the final paragraph of the Times article, emphasis mine:

"Believing that the Astros' network had been compromised by a rogue hacker, Major League Baseball notified the F.B.I., and the authorities in Houston opened an investigation. Agents soon found that the Astros' network had been entered from a computer at a home that some Cardinals officials had lived in."

So, here's where I start to kind of, reluctantly, defend the Cardinals a little. If there are multiple guys from the front office living together in a house, is it fair to assume they probably aren't especially high-level employees? Like, pending more information, it's not as though GM John Mozeliak or assistant GM Mike Girsch or someone like that ordered this to be done, necessarily. Maybe the original intent was just to leak stuff to Deadspin to embarrass them a bit.

But then, here's the thing, is the Cardinals -- no matter what level of employee initiated this -- now had access to internal trade discussions, scouting reports, etc etc that the Astros were using. And while it's kind of laughable to track the Astros given their recent lack of success, the Luhnow connection and fact that Houston has built one of the best farm systems in baseball means gives reason for it. The Astros have been doing well scouting players and are starting to see their work pay off, it's not odd for a team to wonder how they have scouted and developed so well.

Well it maybe can't quite explicitly be stated this way yet, it sure feels like this means the Cardinals have been cheating. As reports come out, we might be able to say that for certain. Right now, it seems everyone is waiting to find what the FBI actually learns in their report, including MLB:

I'm not going to lie and say this whole thing doesn't give me some sense of glee. It's no secret that I'm not exactly big on the Cardinals. I am not an objective voice in this matter. For the most part, I get along with the Cardinal fans I've interacted with (every team has asshole members of their fanbase), but the team itself has time and again frustrated and annoyed me.

But we'll see where this all leads.

It's still just an investigation right now, and if it can't be shown the Cardinals used it for cheating -- if it was just a lower-level employee or two getting some small sort of revenge -- the only punishment may be that that/those employee(s) get fired and maybe the Cardinals get some sort of fine.

But if this investigation does show the Cardinals were looking to gain some advantage from the Astros' information, then hooooooo boy. We're in for a wild ride and I can't wait to find out where it goes.