Larry Thornberry clued me in on this one.
I’ve heard of stealing signs, but this is ridiculous.
It is worth noting that the Cardinals and Astros do not play each other this season, although both teams are in first place in their respective divisions and could be potential World Series opponents in the fall.
The common denominator here is Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. Before becoming the team’s GM in 2012, Luhnow worked in the Cardinals’ scouting department from 2003 through 2011. While with the Cardinals, Luhnow developed a database called Redbird concerning their baseball operations that included scouting reports and other information on player personnel. Luhnow has developed a similar database with the Astros called Ground Control and some in the Cardinals’ organization were concerned Luhnow had taken proprietary data with him.
Of course, where it concerns proprietary information many companies have non-disclosure agreements with their employees not to share trade secrets when they leave the company, especially when moving to a competitor.
So the Cardinals might very well have a legitimate interest where it concerned Luhnow’s use of information that is legally the property of the Cardinals. But it appears that the Cardinals went about addressing their concerns in the wrong manner and have now attracted the feds.
It will be interesting if this becomes MLB’s version of “Deflategate.” What kind of damage this does do to the Cardinals’ organization? Among MLB clubs, the Cardinals have had a very good reputation. Aside from having the most World Series titles in NL history, they developed the minor league system under Branch Rickey and were the first team to provide integrated spring training facilities for their players under Bing Devine.
However, I cannot recall another team being placed under FBI investigation. Up until recent years, the federal government has largely stayed out of MLB’s affairs dating back to the Supreme Court’s 1922 decision deeming them exempt from anti-trust legislation. But this has changed with the involvement of a federal court to end the 1994-1995 baseball strike and the Congressional hearings on steroids a decade ago.
In any event, even if the Cardinals are cleared by the FBI, they might not be so easily so forgiven by the public for, well, their Cardinal sins.
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