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Photos via MLB Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

FBI investigating St. Louis Cardinals for ‘hacking’ the Astros

The rivalry extends into the digital realm.


Kevin Collier


Posted on Jun 16, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 1:57 pm CDT

For perhaps the first time in history, the FBI openly suspects one of baseball’s winningest teams of hacking one the sport’s biggest losers.

No charges have yet been filed, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation has subpoenaed the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as Major League Baseball, for internal correspondence about a major breach that the Houston Astros suffered in 2014, according to the New York Times.

The breach was of a system called Ground Control, which the Astros debuted in 2012 and served as a central hub for internal discussions of trade talks. Someone breached the system last year, however, and like all great hackers, pasted hacked stolen information on Anonabin. The hack showed an unprecedented look at how a team weighs its trade options. “As it turns out, it really isn’t too different from your fantasy league,” Deadspin noted at the time.

The FBI added that the hack didn’t appear to be sophisticated, and that under Luhnow, the Cardinals had previously built a similar system called Redbird.

In fact, calling the breach a “hack” is likely generous. The FBI suspects that the Cardinals simply looked at a master list of passwords used for Redbird and correctly guessed the Cardinals’ login credentials. The agency added that the Astros’ network had been accessed by someone whose IP address apparently originated at a house that several Cardinals employees live in.

Notably, the Astros and Cardinals are traditional rivals, though they currently don’t even play in the same league. But law enforcement doesn’t suspect the move was for strategic advantage. Instead, the Times noted, the hack is believed to be motivated by the 2011 hiring of Jeff Luhnow, then a vice president at the Cardinals, as the Astros’ new general manager.

Regardless of the hack, it seems a smart hire. Though the Cardinals currently have the best record in the league, the Astros are 5th, and on pace to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2006.

Photos via MLB | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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*First Published: Jun 16, 2015, 1:41 pm CDT