The Astros finally know what the Cardinals knew about them

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Oct 11, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is interviewed before game three of the ALDS against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is interviewed before game three of the ALDS against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chris Correa played Biff, and the Astros played the role of George McFly in HackGate

Chris Correa pleads guilty of hacking the Houston Astros Friday in a Houston court. As a teacher, I see many types of students. Some students, the content, comes easily for them, and they do well. So students struggle more than others, but they have the will and determination to succeed still. Some students are very smart, but they sense of importance to what is being taught, so they don’t try. Then you have the kids who rely on other people’s work instead of doing it themselves. Which one of those students is Correa?

This question reminds me of the movie series Back to the Future where Biff asks George McFly to do his homework; he says he needs it early so he could re-write it so that he does not get in trouble. Some people just want to copy your homework and the others are the ones getting their homework copied off of like apparently Jeff Luhnow was. No matter the initial reasons for why Correa hacked into the Astros ‘Ground Control’, it was a lot worse than cheating off someone in school.

Correa faces five years in prison after pleading guilty to breaching the Astros ‘Ground Control’ between the years 2013 and 2014. The court documents were released yesterday, and it details the juicy details. Apparently, when Luhnow left the Cardinals to join the Astros, the report states that Luhnow gave his laptop and password to Correa. While it was weird that he had to give up his password, it is not hard to believe that it was asked for to see the recent activity on it. I’m not a big technical geek, but I’m sure there is a way to do it without the password.

This event happened around December 8, 2011, when the Astros hired Luhnow. Apparently, when Luhnow joined the Astros, he changed the password to, “a similar (albeit obscure) password,” according to the court documents. It was similar to the password that Correa had in his possession. Correa did not attempt to use that password without knowing where to use it until a story published by the Houston Chronicle was published with a URL visible in one of the pictures. Following the release of the story, the Astros noticed people were trying to access the ‘Ground Control’ system, so they changed the URL and changed all the passwords.

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According to Evan Drellich, Luhnow was not aware that the person who was trying to hack the Astros also had access to his Astros email account as well, so Correa was able to receive the new URL and password. Makes you wonder if Luhnow noticed some of his messages being marked read, when he has not read them? That explains a little why it took Correa so long to hack ‘Ground Control,’ and you have to wonder if he has had access to Luhnow’s email account the whole time. Could the success of Luhnow’s 2012 draft with the Houston Astros have given Correa the motivation to see what they know that the Cardinals did not?

The notion was spread when the story of the hack broke during last season that whoever was hacking the Astros was doing it to see if Luhnow had taken the Cardinals’ information with him to Houston. However, it the article by Drellich that I mentioned earlier that revealed ‘Ground Control,’ Luhnow mentioned that he had very little information available when the Jed Lowrie trade to Houston went down. Take a look at Luhnow’s quote below.

"“I had to make decisions when I first got to Houston, the Jed Lowrie trade (acquiring him in 2011 from Boston) – I was flying blind,” Luhnow said. “I had to leave everything behind with the Cardinals, and I’m in a new environment where the tools are not what I’m used to, or what I ultimately wanted.”- Jeff Luhnow via Drellich."

With the success that the Astros found in Carlos Correa, no relation to Chris Correa who is going to jail, Luhnow’s knowledge was a target. While Byron Buxton still could be good, Carlos has far outplayed him so far. According to the court documents, the hacker looked at the all the Astros list of draft eligible players and what each scout thought about them. He was able to identify which players the Astros were after because of the amount of focus on those players. Chris Correa could have used this information to influence who the Cardinals targets were. Drellich stated that Correa looked at players who the Cardinals drafted the next day.

Correa also looked at the trade discussions between the Astros and other teams on several occasions. It is believed that Correa leaked some of the Astros trade talks including a proposed trade by the Marlins including Giancarlo Stanton, George Springer, and Carlos Correa while they were in the minors. Obviously, the deal never went down as they are a big part of the Astros future. I didn’t want to give you all the details, just wanted to voice my thoughts on yesterday’s news.

Next: Houston Astros: A Look at The Next 13 Years Modeled After the 90’s Braves

Good luck to the Texans as they play soon.

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