Back in June, reports came out stating that the Red Birds had hacked into a propriety information system of the Houston Astros. Accordingly, the hacking had been going on for quite a while; 13 months. Why would a franchise attempt to steal data from just one team for a long period of time? There are more than one opponents in the league. Well, the main reason that has surfaced for months now has left the baseball world baffled. The Astros’ GM, Jeff Luhnow, is a former employee of the St. Louis Cardinals, and apparently takes credit for a lot of positive aspects of the Red Bird franchise. So, the Cardinals acted liked children and decided to hack the Astros to spite Mr. Luhnow. There have been a handful of cheating incidents throughout the history of the game to get a leg up on the competition, but never has the game seen a childish form of it like this.
115 years ago the Phillies ran a wire underground from their clubhouse in centerfield to a buzzer in the ground of the third base box to steal signs from the catcher, in 1951 the Giants used a spyglass, then the White Sox upgraded to binoculars, and in 2003, it was rumored that the Red Sox had bugged the visitor’s clubhouse so that they could beat the Yankees. All of those incidents had the purpose to get a leg up on defeating the other team(s), and emotions only played a small part. This time around, emotions played a huge part. Just because someone takes more credit than deserved then leaves the company or team, doesn’t mean that the former team/company has to act like children, nevertheless go through all the trouble to hack into a database just to spite their former employee. The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most successful and popular sports franchises, and have been known to be brilliant in growing top tier players, while computing great sabermetric stats, but this hacking incident may tarnish their reputation.
Many baseball fans marvel at how good the Cardinals are every year despite any obstacle. The Red Birds were one of the first franchises to have a solidified farm system, and have grown great player after great player to this day. St. Louis does a marvelous job adapting to National League style play, factoring in the importance of stats and scouting. Even though the Cardinals may have not hacked the Astros for data on players in order to know how to defeat their rival, it is cheating. And for one of the most pure baseball teams to go through with that could certainly see their team’s revenue suffer in 2016. Many baseball purists and supporters of sabermetrics may somewhat boycott the Cardinals in 2016, thus general fans following the lead. Despite the hacking scandal maybe not playing a big role in team revenue for 2016, the Cardinals will need to take the punishment when officially decided upon, and report back to doing what they do best, without cheating. Naturally fans will be upset with the Red Birds for a while, like they would be with any other huge franchise, but time will heel.