DOJ Is Back On The Baseball Beat; Is Their Past Prologue?

Clems-Investigation-MapWhile it is not quite as exciting as Trump!-mania, the other news this morning is that DOJ is getting back into the baseball game. Having brought responsibility to the financial sector, sent the Wall Street scourges all to prison, and accountability to out of control warrior cops, DOJ is now focused like a laser on computer hacking by the St. Louis Cardinals. From the New York Times:

The 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.

Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials. Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said.

The officials did not say which employees were the focus of the investigation or whether the team’s highest-ranking officials were aware of the hacking or authorized it. The investigation is being led by the F.B.I.’s Houston field office and has progressed to the point that subpoenas have been served on the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for electronic correspondence.

The attack would represent the first known case of corporate espionage in which a professional sports team hacked the network of another team. Illegal intrusions into companies’ networks have become commonplace, but it is generally conducted by hackers operating in foreign countries, like Russia and China, who steal large tranches of data or trade secrets for military equipment and electronics.

Ay caramba, so the, arguably consistently best organization in MLB, the Cardinals, was hacking the consistently worst, or close thereto, team the Astros, in an effort to get ahead? Who is running the Cardinals these days, Bill Belichick? This is almost too stupid to be true, but there it is, in glaring black and white. Hard not to smell a full blown Congressional hearing inquest coming too, because that is just how they roll on The Hill. Maybe after their summer vacation.

But, all kidding aside, while the US government does not have a reputation for securing their own networks, it is scary to think what resources may be spent on what is effectively a civil matter between two baseball teams. It is always instructive to remember the ridiculous amount of time and money DOJ expended fruitlessly pursuing Roger Clemens. If you had forgotten my report on the DOJ Clemens absurdity, in its full graphical clarity, from almost exactly three years ago, click on and embiggen the graphic above, which is an official DOJ creation by the way, and recall all its sickening glory.

This is without even getting into the idiotic, and humiliatingly losing, pursuit DOJ made of Barry Bonds. It is hard to tell where DOJ is going, or how far it will go, with this excursion into a pissing match between two professional sports franchises, but if past is prologue, count on DOJ wasting an absolute ton of your and my tax money.

So, when the Department of Justice and Executive Branch come hat in hand screaming for more “cyber” resources and funding, remember just what it is they are doing with that money and those resources to date. And remember just how terminally stupid this case, and DOJ investigation into it, really is.

A Great World Series Arises From The Ashes

So, I fully apologize for letting one and all down in the heavy Tebow content department last weekend. It was inexcusable, and I do know how important it is to you all to get THE FULL TEBOW. Well, I am here to make amends. There is one hitch in the giddyup though; it turns out the biggest sports story in the land is the World Series, where the St. Louis Cardinals rose uppa from the meek earth last night – like TebowChrist would – and pulled off a miracle. This leaves us with a deciding game 7 tonight.

In all seriousness, the game last night between the Texans and Cardinals was not particularly well played defensively, nor well pitched; however, it is one of the best WS games I’ve ever seen. Wow. And that sets up the last waltz tonight for the crown. Remember when pundits were laughing at MLB and Selig because there was no Yankees, Sawx or Phillies in the Series and how it would be TV ratings scum? I do, and it has turned out quite nicely thank you very much. Best Series in a while actually. But, because Emptywheel is ALL TEBOW ALL THE TIME, when Bob Schacht asked for early WS coverage, I made it conditioned on a Tebow tie-in. Bob really came through too:

Tebow, schmebow. We’re talking about the World Series!

Anyway, if you insist: Didn’t Tebow just lead his team on a series of late game scoring drives to win a game everyone had given up on?

Same deal with the Cardinals. After screwing up for most of the game, and their bullpen giving up 4 runs in the late innings, the Cards kept coming back, tying the game twice in the late innings and then winning in the 11th inning with a walk-off homer by David Freese. Freese has had a great series, and is a young player, like Tebow. I believe Freese also committed a stupid error earlier in the game, dropping an easy fly ball at third base, so we have a redemption theme going, too.

Besides the 3 errors, the Cardinals made some great defensive plays, as well, managing to turn a bunt into a double play.

Series heros so far for the Cards: Youngster Freese, and old guy Lance Berkman, who just happens to be hitting over .400 for the series, and is cavorting around the field like someone 10 years younger.

Well hello, that is Tebow like! Apparently Bill Belichick has been wearing a Tony Larusa Cards jersey around lately. Don’t know what to make of that, but it is powerful stuff.

I find both of these teams kind of compelling and am conflicted as to who I am rooting for; mostly just for more kick ass baseball. Matt Holliday is out for the Cardinals, and the WS MVP up until now, Mike Napoli, has a pretty badly sprained ankle. Napoli played through it last night, but tonight may be a whole nuther matter, although he intends to play. Pitching will be Matt Harrison for the Rangers and Chris Carpenter for the Cards. This should favor Carpenter, but he is coming in off of a goofy schedule and only available because of the rain day interjected into the equation. It may be that both teams use a lot of pitchers.

I have no idea how this game will go, but it is always hard on a team that had it wrapped up like Texas did, twice last night they were one strike away, and who let it slip away. And, of course the game is in St. Louis. You have to think the Cards have the edge here.

Batter Up!