Cardinals chairman says hacking of Astros was 'rogue' behavior
ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. blamed "roguish behavior" for the team's involvement in the alleged hacking of the Houston Astros' player personnel database.
DeWitt said Thursday the team was still investigating the matter but said no more than a handful of individuals in an operation that numbers in the hundreds -- he described it as a "needle in a haystack" -- was responsible.
"I still don't know the reason for it," DeWitt said. "I can't come up with a reason for it. It goes against everything we stand for. We don't know who did what here."
DeWitt and general manager John Mozeliak met with media at Busch Stadium a day after an attorney hired by the team said high-level executives were not involved in the scandal.
Both teams have said they're cooperating with authorities.
"We're committed to getting this resolved, we hope sooner rather than later," DeWitt said. "We're a little bit at the government's pace. We're not in a position of pushing them, as you might imagine."
DeWitt said he met with team employees Thursday and told them "we've all been tainted" by the scandal, and added, "It's a shame."
DeWitt said he had "zero knowledge" of the hacking before being informed by FBI investigators early this year. He said the team hired a law firm to "tell us how to act."
"You can imagine how shocked I was to learn that the FBI was investigating a potential breach ... because it didn't make any sense," DeWitt said.
He predicted the organization will emerge "stronger than ever."
"Those responsible will be held accountable," DeWitt said, "and we will continue what we feel is a great franchise."
Both DeWitt and Mozeliak said vengeance toward former Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow, now the Astros' GM, should not have been a factor in the alleged hacking. Both attended Luhnow's wedding in 2012.
"I felt like we had a very solid relationship, a very positive working relationship," Mozeliak said. "When he did have that opportunity to go to Houston, I can tell you both Bill and I were advocates for him, to get that opportunity and gave glowing reports."
Luhnow said the notion that poor password protection was to blame for the computer hack was "absolutely false."
Luhnow headed the Cardinals' scouting and player development department before he was hired by the Astros in December 2011. Luhnow worked at technology firm Archetype Solutions Inc. before his stint in baseball, and he was asked about the theory that hackers could access Houston's system because he didn't change passwords.
"That's absolutely false," Luhnow told Sports Illustrated. "I absolutely know about password hygiene and best practices. I'm certainly aware of how important passwords are, as well as of the importance of keeping them updated. A lot of my job in baseball, as it was in high tech, is to make sure that intellectual property is protected. I take that seriously and hold myself and those who work for me to a very high standard."
He also denied he used any of the Cardinals' intellectual property or information from the Cardinals' database called Redbird to create Houston's database, which they call Ground Control.
"I'm very aware of intellectual property and the agreements I signed," Luhnow told SI. "I didn't take anything, any proprietary information. Nor have we ever received any inquiries from anybody that even suggested that we had."
The 49-year-old Luhnow said he remains on good terms with the Cardinals and scoffed at the idea the hacking was intended as some kind of revenge. He also said it doesn't make sense to think that old information from one team could help another team.
"If you were to take a snapshot of the database of one team, within a month it would not be useful anymore, because things change so quickly," he told SI.