My Time With the Architect of the Astros’ ‘Ground Control’ Database

The Houston Astros’ database is the centerpiece of the team’s operations. It also was a huge security risk

Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.

Photographer: Aaron M. Sprecher/AP Photo

On Tuesday morning, the New York Times reported that the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating employees of the St. Louis Cardinals for hacking into the database of the rival Houston Astros, which, if true, would represent a serious case of corporate espionage. Last summer, Deadspin scandalized Major League Baseball by publishing leaked information from the hack, including detailed trade negotiations. The reason the hack was so damaging—and embarrassing—to the Astros is because the database, nicknamed “Ground Control,” is the centerpiece of the team’s operations. As Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow told me last summer, “Ground Control is the repository of all our baseball knowledge.” Then he gave me a demonstration.

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