Someone hacked the Astros’ “Ground Control” database and got their internal trade discussions

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Hacking anyone or any company’s private communications is underhanded and most likely illegal. People do it all the time, of course, but that doesn’t change it. What also doesn’t change: third parties’ interest in the hacked information, regardless of the legality of the hack. Especially when the hackee is famous or notable.

The Houston Astros are famous and notable and now Deadspin is reporting that their highly-publicized internal communication and evaluation system called “Ground Control” got hacked. Among the stolen data which has been posted online are internal discussions about a possible trade for Giancarlo Stanton last year, the leadup to the Bud Norris trade and discussions between the Astros and Yankees back during spring training in which the Yankees offered Ichiro Suzuki to Houston, largely for cash.

The data comes in the form of notes, not unlike you’d see in a customer service database in which representatives make a note each time you call in. Like this, reflecting conversations about Bud Norris in the runup to last year’s trade deadline:

“7/29/2013″,” SF said they wouldn’t include Mejia on top of Blackburn.”
“7/29/2013″,” SF said they still had interest in Norris. JL said they would have to include both Blackburn and Mejia to be competitive.”
“7/29/2013″,” AA texted JL and asked what a package around Stroman might look like. JL said Stoman + Gose would be in consideration.”
“7/29/2013″,” BC texted JL and said they couldn’t include Boegarts, Cecchini, Webster, or Bradley but thought they had enough depth to still make an appealing package. JL wrote back and asked if they would consider a package around Barnes and Owens.”

On the one hand: let’s smile at the Astros asking for a package including Xander Boegarts for Bud freakin’ Norris. On the other hand: let us not pretend that we have much of a clue how most trade discussions go. You don’t get the sky if you don’t ask for the stars, right?

And no matter what you think of all of this, I think it’s OK to think that (a) whoever hacked into the Astros’ database is probably gonna get in big trouble; and (b) the Astros probably need to talk to someone about data security.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?