And while the punishment which the Cardinals will incur as a result of Chris Correa's unauthorized access of the Astros' scouting database in 2013 remains to be seen, an interesting little tidbit emerged on Saturday.
Craig Edwards summed up what happened, but for an even shorter version of the story: Evan Drelich of the Houston Chronicle posted the court transcript from Correa's testimony. The highlight, the one which The Internet jumped upon and ran with immediately, came in the first sentence of Drelich's post.
"The password of a high-ranking Astros executive that Chris Correa used to access Astros' systems was based on the name of a player "who was scrawny and who would not have been thought of to succeed in the major leagues, but through effort and determination he succeeded anyway," assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chu said on Jan. 8 when Correa pleaded guilty to hacking the Astros in federal court."
The implication was that the Cardinals (and, later, the Astros) had based their passwords on the kinds of players that formerly (and, to a large but somewhat lesser extent, still do) lend themselves to being fan favorites but in 2016, increasingly lend themselves to dismissive eye-rolls from the internet. And the most common assumption was that the player in question was David Eckstein.
Eckstein, for anyone who doesn't remember him (if you don't remember him, you make me feel very old and please do not admit this to me), was a Cardinals shortstop from 2005-2007. For a player acquired by the team after being non-tendered by the Anaheim Angels, Eckstein was fairly productive with the club. His OBPs per season were .363, .350, and .356. He wasn't much of a power threat and his glove was somewhat lackluster, but he was a solid contributor and in 2006, was World Series MVP. He had a nice run in St. Louis.
Admittedly, I was never crazy about Eckstein when he was a Cardinal, but in retrospect, while the fan adoration for an unexceptional talent simply because he was 5'6" and 170 pounds was probably a bit extreme, it was probably wrong for statheads to dismiss him as vociferously as they (we) did.
It's strange for camps to speak of Eckstein's ascent to starting shortstop in Major League Baseball as a scraptacular victory for grit and determination and Hawk Harrelson's infamous TWTW. But it's also strange to pretend that David Eckstein wasn't naturally gifted, perhaps not in comparison to Alex Rodriguez but in comparison to the average human.
He was a two-time All-State selection in high school in Florida and while playing college baseball for the Florida Gators, Eckstein was two-time All-SEC and once an All-American. Only when looking at the most elite levels of competition could David Eckstein be seen as something less than an exceptional athlete.
Anyway, for anyone who drudged through my silly Eckstein stuff, there was something else that happened!
Episode 49 of the Viva El Birdos podcast
In this edition, Craig and Joe Schwarz discuss Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, and the general depth had by the Cardinals in lieu of elite-level free agent signings. Whether you have a morning (or evening) commute or you are trapped by record snowfall on the Atlantic coast, it should be worth a listen.
Have a great Monday.