The former Cardinals scouting director, Chris Correa, has sentenced by a federal judge to serve 46 months in jail after being found guilty of hacking the Houston Astros prospect database.
The event occurred from 2013-2014 in which Chris Correa pleaded guilty to hacking into email and databases owned by the Houston Astros. These databases contained information on players and prospects. Hacked is kind of a strong and misleading word in this case however. The ex Cardinals scouting director didn’t hire a team of anonymous computer hackers to gain access to the Astros system. All he did was guess correctly on the password to the information. He did so because the Astros password was created by an ex Cardinals employee, who had to turn over his team issued computer, along with the password. This is certainly a lesson in “change your passwords” if I’ve ever seen one.
Not to defend the crime, but in a world where sending government level confidential information over a private server in your basement gets you a presidential nomination, 4 years and over $250,000 in restitution seems a bit harsh. Consider that nobody was really harmed in this case, other than one organization getting a competitive advantage over another. It’s still clearly wrong and it’s a good thing this was nipped in the butt before it was able to sprout into a new controversy in Major League Baseball, with teams accessing other teams’ data.
With baseball being such a data driven game, and since the coming of the “moneyball era”, a team’s player data could arguably be one of the most vital pieces of intellectual property these organizations own. We’re not talking height, weight, and batting average being the information that was stolen. We’re talking about the Astros philosophies on what analytics they find to be of most value when evaluating a player. The Cardinals having access to this information is harmful to the Astros, and the entire league in so many ways. Chris Correa was apologetic for his actions, and likely took the fall for more than one single person in the Cardinals system taking advantage of this illegally obtained information.