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Cardinals hack Astros database: Fans of cheating cheaters deny the truth

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Face the facts. They broke the law. They cheated.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Listen to any good country song and one thing becomes clear: cheaters gonna cheat.

At least, that's the point Carrie Underwood or Josh Turner or whoever else make over and over again. Don't trust his lying, cheating heart.

The other thing about cheaters is they rarely realize they're doing anything wrong. Such is the life of St. Louis Cardinals fans right now. The Best Fans In Baseball (tm) just happen to find their team embroiled in an ugly story that keeps getting uglier. The Cardinals violated federal law, accessing the Astros' proprietary database to obtain privileged information about how Houston runs its team.

And yet, the delusion of Cardinals fans helps them justify this because of a throwaway comment GM Jeff Luhnow made to Sports Illustrated on Thursday. In defending himself from the potshots Cards fans were already taking about his supposed password dumbness, he brought up how the data obtained would be useless pretty quickly.

"If you were to take a snapshot of the database of one team, within a month it would not be useful anymore, because things change so quickly," he said. "Not to mention that the types of analysis you would do back in 2011, versus 2012 or '13 , is evolving so quickly because of new tools like PitchFX and StatCast. I wouldn't trust another team's analysis even if I had it."

This launched a whole article on SB Nation sister site, Viva El Birdos, proving conclusively that the Cardinals did not cheat. It's okay, everyone. Nothing to see here. Move along.

There's another reason the accusation of cheating leveled by some against the Cardinals doesn't hold water: The information would quickly become obsolete. In other words, even if the Cardinals stole proprietary data that the Astros used to evaluate or value players, its shelf life would be so short that it would quickly become useless. If you don't believe me, just ask Luhnow.

Need I tell you how ridiculous this is? The argument they're making is that the Cardinals didn't receive a competitive advantage. How could they? The Astros are terrible (ha ha ha).

Yet, as the Chronicle broke last night, there were apparently data breaches going back to 2012. Basically, these "rouge members" of the Cardinals organization hopped into the Astros database at any time they wanted, taking information multiple times.

The data itself may not have been helpful, but seeing how that data evolved? That's where we get into murkier water. Oh, and that's not even getting into the trade data that was contained into those files. The leaked data last summer contained all those trade notes, but they weren't the complete files. If the Cardinals had been digging into them for that long, who knows what they could have obtained. Wouldn't you like to negotiate with someone when you know their internal thinking?

That's right, the Cards attempted to do just that. After all, they had talks with the Astros on Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris. Wonder why that didn't come to anything? Maybe because the Cardinals were cheating and knew what the Astros were saying internally about those talks.

We don't know that happened. Heck, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak insists he knew nothing about this and it was a band of rebels inside the organization perpetrating this. The time scope of this, though, calls a lot of that into question.

Back when this Ground Control story breached last summer, we slammed the Astros for letting the Chronicle take a photo of their database's URL. That's asking for someone to compromise their system. But, again, it turns out that was not the conduit to this intrusion. It was a red herring, allowing people to rake muck all over the Astros for being dumb. I'm sure we'll see a ton of apologies from all those jokes and aspersions sometime this afternoon.

Now, we have to sit here and read how the Cardinals are totally not cheaters, you guys. It stinks of desperation. No one likes rooting for an organization that openly flaunts the rules of decency and breaks the law.

I'm sure the next article we read at Viva El Birdos about this scandal will be about how "everyone does it. It's not a big deal." After all, it worked for the Patriots.