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St. Louis Cardinals fined $2 million for hacking the Houston Astros

Some think Major League Baseball didn't go far enough.

Feb 28, 2020, 4:50 pm*

Tech

Josh Katzowitz 

Josh Katzowitz

Several months after the former scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals was sentenced to 46 months in jail for hacking into the Houston Astros player database, the final punishment from Major League Baseball has been handed down.

Commissioner Rob Manfred proclaimed Monday the Cardinals would have to send the Astros $2 million and their two highest 2017 draft picks to compensate for the hacking.

That’s a big punishment for St. Louis, which had employed Chris Correa in its front office when he figured out how to break into Houston’s database. He later pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer.

Correa hacked into Houston’s so-called “Ground Control” database dozens of times in 2013 and 2014 to access the confidential data of multiple Astros employees. 

He gained access because former Cardinals Vice President Jeff Luhnow had been hired as the Houston general manager and returned a team-owned laptop to the Cardinals. After Luhnow installed Ground Control, which was similar to the in-house database in St. Louis called “Redbird,” Correa gained access to Houston’s database by guessing that Luhnow’s password would be similar to the one he used for the Redbird system.

With that access, Correa looked at confidential notes pertaining to Astros trades and viewed scouting reports for potential future draft picks.

Correa was also permanently banned from baseball. But some believe the Cardinals ultimately got off easy.

H/T Houston Chronicle

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*First Published: Jan 30, 2017, 4:49 pm