A day after the New York Times broke the story that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating St. Louis Cardinals employees for hacking into a Houston Astros' database and stealing proprietary organizational information, the club's higher-ups went on a public-relations offensive.
The first wave was a joint statement issued by chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak via press release:
DeWitt and Mozeliak statements regarding investigation: pic.twitter.com/8EKkZndfQh— #VoteSTL (@Cardinals) June 17, 2015
The statement is about what one would expect under the circumstances and a signal of solidarity between DeWitt and Mozeliak. It's evident that DeWitt wanted to present a united front with his GM, who has come under some fire over the last couple of days due to the alleged actions of his underlings. This is an indication that Mozeliak was ignorant of the goings on or at least that DeWitt believes his general manager had no hand in the theft of Houston's data.
But the press release was not Mozeliak's only statement on the day regarding the F.B.I. investigation. He also sat down—understandably, given the federal criminal probe, with club counsel Matt Whittle also on the line—with USA Today's Bob Nightengale for an interview, stating:
"Unequivocally,'' Mozeliak said, "I knew nothing about this.''
He just wants answers.
"I don't know the outcome of this, or where it's going to go,'' Mozeliak said, "but our hope is that when everything comes to light, people will realize that it wasn't something that was organizational-wide. It shouldn't be something that takes away from any of the success this organization has had.''
Yet, when Mozeliak was asked if he felt responsible should anyone in his department be found guilty of breaching the Astros' computer system, Whittle interrupted, and said it was a question that Mozeliak should not answer.
When the F.B.I. is investigating it's best not to offer up where you think the buck stops with respect to your employees' actions—even if you maintain you were wholly ignorant of them. Such is the position Mozeliak and the Cardinals front office find themselves in. It feels like ages ago when Nightengale wrote a fluff piece for USA Today at the start of spring training entitled, "Cardinals have nary a care as camp dawns."