For nearly three years a St. Louis Cardinals executive continually hacked into the scouting database of another Major League Baseball team, using their research, stealing their medical reports, and constantly checking and re-checking the notes they were keeping on trade discussions with other teams.
To believe what the Cardinals have insisted since they got caught two years ago, their scouting director, Chris Correa, acted alone, and never told anybody else in the organization what he was up to. Cardinals apologists have insisted that Correa was just insecure about his ability to do his job, so he was looking for an edge, but didn’t dare to tell anyone else with the team for fear of being outed as a know-nothing douchebag.
This ridiculously naive excuse is one they use to replace the old one, which was that Correa only broke into the database to make sure that the Astros general manager, Jeff Luhnow, who had worked for the Cardinals before getting the Houston job, hadn’t stolen any Cardinals secrets.
That this whole episode is sordid, and instructive for those who still think the “Cardinals Way” of playing baseball “right” isn’t pure horseshit.
Either general manager John Mozeliak and owner Bill DeWitt are clueless idiots who have no idea what’s going on in their organization or they knew full well that one of their top executives was blatantly cheating. Not that the Cardinals know anything about cheating. It’s not like they enabled Tony LaRussa’s “better baseball through chemistry” freakshow for a decade and a half.
It somehow took Baseball even longer than the American justice system to finally come up with a penalty. Correa is serving a 46 month sentence in federal prison. And yesterday, the Cardinals got the boom lowered on them.
Well, it was more of a light thud. Baseball’s penalty for two and a half years of blatant cheating was the loss of a second and third round draft pick, the draft pool money associated with those picks and a two million dollar fine.
That’s it. The Cardinals didn’t have a first round pick to lose because they forfeited it when they signed Dexter Fowler. That the Cardinals, who normally treasure their first round picks, gave it up for a 31 year old centerfielder leads you to believe they suspected they were going to lose that pick one way or the other.
Why didn’t Commissioner Rob Manfred take away the Cardinals first round pick in 2018 when they used their 2017 pick to sign Fowler? Why didn’t he get his head out of his rectum and take these picks away before this offseason began?
If the Cardinals didn’t benefit from their malfeasance it wasn’t for a lack of trying. They drafted Marco Gonzales in the 2013 draft after Correa checked out the Astros medicals on him just before the draft. He reviewed Houston’s trade discussion notes 14 times in 2013 just before the trade deadline. Those notes didn’t just help the Cardinals get a read on what Houston was interested trade-wise but also what every team who talked to Houston was thinking.
Two draft picks and an amount of cash that in 2017 pro sports is a pittance is a pathetically toothless penalty for the Cardinals to have to pay for this.
But just as ludicrous is that baseball rewarded the Astros for having front office members too stupid to change their passwords from the ones they had when they worked in St. Louis. Not only did the Cardinals give up those picks, that slot money and the two million fine, but Major League Baseball gave all of it to the Astros.
You’ll be hard pressed to convince anyone that Houston was impacted far more than every other team by the Cardinals cheating. Certainly not enough to get extra picks and extra cash just because they couldn’t get over using David Eckstein’s last name in their passwords.
The whole affair makes two things perfectly clear. The Cardinals a cheating bunch of assholes and the Astros are a bunch of careless dumbasses.
The way Manfred handled these penalties is pure bullshit. He wasn’t nearly hard enough on the assholes and he went out of his way to reward the dumbasses.