Yesterday, as you know, the Cardinals were fined $2 million and were ordered to surrender two draft picks as punishment for the acts of Chris Correa, their former scouting director, who hacked into the Houston Astros scouting and analytics database. Correa is serving 46 months in prison for his crime.
This morning Correa released a statement sharply criticizing Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred for their findings and order issued yesterday. His statement:
Correa continues to maintain — as he did in court — that he hacked into the Astros system to see what they had hacked from the Cardinals. The judge was not impressed at all with this line of argument and shut Correa down when he tried to offer it as an excuse.
I don’t know if Manfred looked into Correa’s claim that the Astros likewise did wrong, but after more than three years one would have assumed that, had there been unauthorized access in both directions, we would’ve heard about it from someone other than Chris Correa. Either way, I can’t imagine the judge is going to be too impressed with this statement from Correa. And I am certain Major League Baseball will not be moved.
UPDATE: Major League Baseball has issued a statement in response to Correa:
Mr. Correa and potential witnesses were informed of our decision to defer our investigation until the government completed its investigation and any criminal charges against Mr. Correa were adjudicated. Upon the conclusion of the federal investigation, during July and August 2016, the Department of Investigations repeatedly requested Mr. Correa’s cooperation through his attorney. On July 21, 2016, Mr. Correa was informed directly that he would be placed on the permanently ineligible list if he did not cooperate with the Department of Investigations. Mr. Correa not only steadfastly refused to answer any questions, but also opposed the release of any documents by the government to the Office of the Commissioner. On August 23, 2016, Mr. Correa’s attorney told the Department of Investigations that Mr. Correa was not interested in ‘providing any information directly or indirectly to MLB.’ The Department of Investigations was not provided evidence to substantiate the other allegations contained in Mr. Correa’s letter, but remains willing to meet with Mr. Correa at any time.”
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.
Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”
A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.
Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.
Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.
The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.
Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.
Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.
UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: