Former Cardinals' Scouting Director Chris Correa pleaded guilty today to five counts of unauthorized access to computer information. For a little background click here to our piece from earlier today. David Barron, sports writer for the Houston Chronicle, was in attendance and able to live tweet the proceedings:
There was info on about 200 players in the Astros database, federal attorneys say.— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
The value of the information to which Christopher Correa gained unauthorized access has been set at $1.7 million.— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
"Yes, your honor, I accept responsibility for my mistakes," Chris Correa tells Judge Hughes.— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
Correa is in some pretty hot water:
Max penalty on each of the five counts vs. Chris Correa includes up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250k and restitution.— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
Correa continued with the claim that he was checking to see if the Astros stole information:
Chris Correa says he trespassed on Astros computer system based on suspicion Astros had unauthorized Cardinals data.— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
Hughes: "Did you find any Cardinals information?" Correa: "I did, your honor."— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
Of course, that excuse doesn't actually absolve Correa of any wrong doing:
Judge Hughes says of Chris Correa’s actions: "You broke into their house to find if they were stealing your stuff."— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
Justice takes awhile I guess, as he won't be sentenced still for a few more months
Sentencing hearing for Christopher Correa is set for April 11.— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
For their part, the Astros deny any wrongdoing on their end:
Meanwhile, Astros refute Correa's comment that their database contained Cardinals proprietary data.— David Barron (@dfbarron) January 8, 2016
We really have no reason not to believe the Astros except for Correa's word, which isn't exactly in great standing right now. I'd imagine Luhnow and the former Cardinals employees that went with them used RedBirdDog as inspiration for Ground Control, but it's hard to believe that those people did anything to level that Correa just plead guilty to.
One positive thing to take away from this is that it appears that no one else except Correa was involved with this. Perhaps Correa is covering up someone else's involvement, but if that's the case let's just hope the individuals involved would never do anything like that again.
With the story being that Correa was working alone, it's easier to see this as one bad guy in an otherwise fine Front Office. If this turned out to be a group effort among the Cardinals' internal departments would have not only massively damaged the Cardinals' image, but also may have made it more likely that the Cardinals would receive some type of punishment from the league. At this time, any punishment by the league is unknown, but here was their statement:
MLB statement on hacking case pic.twitter.com/UILbpgWAQz— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) January 8, 2016
It's hard not to still feel bad for Correa, but he also knew the possible consequences beforehand and did it anyway. Correa is clearly a smart guy in other ways, but even he will tell you he exercised very poor judgment back when he hacked another MLB team's database. He worked extremely hard to get a fairly high position in the baseball world, and threw it all away, seemingly out of paranoia or a grudge.
I for one, and happy to have this process one step closer to being over with, and I assume most Cardinals fans feel the same way.