This week the baseball world was rocked by bombshell news that could turn into one of the biggest MLB scandals of all time when it’s all said and done. According to the New York Times, the FBI is currently investigating members of the St. Louis Cardinals front office for hacking into the Houston Astros’ database of proprietary statistics and confidential communications.
Of course, despite the overabundance of hot takes on this scandal, which offer myriad theories presented as facts about to who did what and why, at this point we don’t actually know very much. Somebody accessed the Astro’s computer system, and that somebody is a member of the Cardinals front office. But who and why they did it, which will determine the severity of this transgression and subsequent punishment from MLB? That’s not so clear.
The hacking could have been (and the Cardinals will almost certainly argue that it was) the work of one rogue, low-level, front office employee. Or it could have been the work of people higher up in the organization.
Whoever it was could have been seeking to obtain useful information and get an unfair edge on other teams in the league. Or they could have been trying to see if Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, the Cardinals’ former analytics czar, took any of their intellectual property with him to Houston. Or they could simply have been out for revenge, as Luhnhow was a very divisive figure in St. Louis who didn’t leave behind many friends. Or it could be a combination of any or all of these.
Whatever happened, this is a huge black eye for what has been, in recent years, baseball’s model franchise. And given their recent run of success, and the animosity that such success breeds, the hacking scandal is not something rival fans are going to forget anytime soon.
Where will #hackgate rank in the pantheon of MLB scandals? It’s difficult to say at this point. But if you’re into jumping the gun, here you’ll a list of the most shocking MLB scandals of all time. Feel free to draw your own premature conclusion.