Yesterday a federal judge unsealed three documents pertaining to the Cardinals ‘hacking’ scandal of the Astros and they were published in the Houston Chronicle.
If you had any illusions that Christopher Correa and the Cardinals were merely trying to make sure that proprietary information wasn’t being used by the Astros, feel free to discard them ASAP.
The Cardinals were pretty much straight cheating.
According to the documents, portions of which remained redacted, Correa intruded into the Astros’ “Ground Control” database 48 times and accessed the accounts of five Astros employees. For 21/2 years, beginning in January 2012, Correa had unfettered access to the e-mail account of Sig Mejdal, the Astros’ director of decision sciences and a former Cardinals employee. Correa worked in St. Louis as an analyst under Mejdal, who came to Houston after the 2011 season with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, also a former Cardinals executive.
It appears that Correa’s rivalry with Sig Mejdal was largely to blame, well, for pretty much everything involved in this scandal.
Documents also reflect the degree to which Correa was motivated by jealousy of the attention Mejdal received from Sports Illustrated for the Astros’ data-driven attitudes toward scouting and player development. A June 2014 cover of SI famously pronounced the Astros, then coming off three consecutive 100-plus loss seasons, as “Your 2017 World Series champs.”
“Mejdal was one of Correa’s rivals,” (Assistant US Attorney) Chu wrote, noting that the two had “heated discussions” when both worked for the Cardinals. “And now, this rival was being praised, even though his team had not yet begun to win.”
The Houston Chronicle cites specific examples of how the ill-gotten information was used, but the bottom line is that Correa was using it to actively make decisions on everything from drafts to trades.
“Ultimately, Correa was not intruding to see if the Astros took any information — rather, he was keenly focused on information that coincided with the work he was doing for the Cardinals,” Chu concluded.
Chu wrote that even if Correa hid his activity from his Cardinals colleagues, “his access to the Astros’ information was still invaluable. Before he proposed an idea, he could quietly check what another analytics-minded organization thought. He also could supplement his own ideas with the ideas of the Astros’ analytics department because he knew what projects the Astros’ analytics department was researching, what concepts they found promising, what ideas they had discarded.”
But maybe the worst part (if there can be a worse part)? Correa couldn’t just keep the information to himself for personal gain within the organization. He gave it to Deadspin, because, you know, they’re so pro-Cardinals.
Chu also disclosed in the sentencing report his belief that “it must have been Correa” who leaked confidential Astros information to Deadspin.com concerning 10 months of Astros confidential trade discussions after also posting details to Anonabin.com and Pastebin.com, two bulletin boards that allow anonymous posting of data.
As a result of the Deadspin leak, the prosecutor wrote, “general managers through Major League Baseball were forced to awkwardly reassure their players. … Ultimately, the Astros were forced to issue private apologies to every team in the league. It was a humiliating episode for the Astros.”
Read the whole thing via the link above. It’s worth it. But be warned, it’s just going to make you sad.
Fingers crossed that the Cardinals have parted ways with any front-office employees that don’t try to win without cheating. Because the more we learn about this scandal, the more embarrassing it is for everyone rooting for or associated with the team.