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NYTimes report: St. Louis Cardinals face F.B.I. inquiry in hacking of Houston Astros' network

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Reports surfaced last June that documents taken from a Houston Astros' database had been posted online. Trade talks with the Washington Nationals were mentioned in the documents. Reports today say the St. Louis Cardinals face an FBI inquiry.

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Late last June, a Deadspin.com report by Barry Petchesky broke the news that documents showing ten months' worth of Houston Astros', "internal trade chatter [had] been posted online at Anonbin, a site where users can anonymously share hacked or leaked information."

The proprietary information came from "'Ground Control'—a built-from-scratch online database for the private use of the Astros front office."

The documents, Petchesky wrote, included, "... the Astros front office's communications regarding trade overtures to and from other teams, as well as negotiations—a few of which actually led to trades."

One conversation that did not result in a trade was detailed in the documents:

7/26/2013

[Nationals GM Mike] Rizzo called [Astros GM Jeff Luhnow] to inquire on [Lucas] Harrell. JL told him we would still need a headliner like [Lucas] Giolito because we still value Harrell highly. Rizzo did not respond immediately.

It wasn't the only mention of the Nationals' communications with the Astros.

Apparently Nats' GM Mike Rizzo and Astros' GM Jeff Luhnow discussed a number of players:

01/31/2014

[Nats GM Mike] Rizzo reached out and expressed interest in [Carlos] Corporan.

2/7/2014

[Luhnow] indicated we would consider Nate Karns. [Mike Rizzo] said they would not do Karns.

Though Rizzo "would not do [Nathan] Karns" in a deal with the Astros, the Nationals did end up trading the right-hander to Tampa Bay just six days after the date included in the notes from Houston's hacked database in a deal that sent Karns to the Rays in return for minor league outfielder Drew Vettleson, catcher Jose Lobaton and left-handed reliever Felipe Rivero.

As reported by Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore, Rizzo responded to questions about the leaks shortly after the information was posted online when he spoke to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.

"'It’s something that every organization fears,'" Rizzo told the 106.7 the FAN hosts.

"'The new world and the new generation, we’ve put all our information down in e-mails and databases and that type of thing. It’s really something that is troublesome to learn. You hate when things are leaked out, because a lot of those trade proposals are just initial ideas and spit-balling, if you will. It would be a nightmare for us, and that’s why a lot of my trade proposals and ideas are in my notebook that’s in my briefcase. That’s why sometimes being old-school ain’t so bad.'"

[Rizzo points to head]

A few weeks short of a year after the Deadspin article was posted online, a stunning New York Times' article today by Michael S. Schmidt reports that, "F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating whether front-office officials for the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful teams in baseball over the past two decades, hacked into internal networks of a rival team to steal closely guarded information about player personnel."

"The attack," Mr. Schmidt writes, "represents the first known case of corporate espionage in which a professional sports team has hacked the network of another team."

The article is a must-read. Check it out through the link below:

MLB and the Cardinals have since responded to the report: