ST. LOUIS (CN) – The FBI is investigating whether the St. Louis Cardinals hacked into Houston Astros computers, a probe confirmed by the baseball commissioner.
The New York Times reported today that investigators have found evidence that Cardinals officials broke into an Astros database that contained internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports.
Major League Baseball “has been aware of and has fully cooperated with the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database,” a spokesman for baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
The Cardinals released a statement that read: “The St. Louis Cardinals are aware of the investigation into the security breach of the Houston Astros’ database. The team has fully cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do so. Given that this is an ongoing federal investigation, it is not appropriate for us to comment further.”
The Cardinals and Major League Baseball have been served with subpoenas for electronic correspondence.
The hacking did not appear to be sophisticated, according to the Times.
Cardinals officials allegedly used passwords to a computer network called Redbird, which Houston General Manager Jeff Luhnow created when he was with the Cardinals, to hack into a similar program Luhnow created in Houston, called Ground Control.
Houston hired Lunhow away from the Cardinals in December 2011.
Investigators believe Cardinals officials, concerned that Luhnow had taken proprietary information from the club, began searching Houston’s network.
It is the first known case of corporate espionage between professional U.S. sports teams, the Times reported.
The Cardinals officials under investigation have not been disciplined, according to the Times. The commissioner’s office will likely wait until the investigation is finished before disciplining the officials or the club.
The investigation is a stark departure from the image the Cardinals have tried to craft, painting the team as a revered organization with wholesome Midwest values. As 42-21, the Cardinals have the best record in baseball today. Their 11 World Series championships are second only to the Yankees.
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