Inside Baseball Should Be Kept Inside Baseball






Apparently the threat of terrorism is over. After all, why else would the FBI have agents with so little to do they can now conduct a full-blown investigation of the St Louis Cardinals computer hacking the Houston Astros?

ISIS and al Qaeda are history. It’s stolen scouting reports threatening to bring America to its knees.

I don’t discount the gravity of the acts when it comes to the integrity of the game. I question the efficacy of seeking outside solutions about what is strictly internal to baseball. And I’ve got a 150+ years of baseball history on my side.

Ask anyone who follows the game to list scandals. You will almost exclusively hear about steroids, Pete Rose’s gambling and the 1919 Black Sox.

The reality is that these are but three out of a hundred plus.

Read “The Fix Is In: A History Of Baseball Gambling and Game Fixing Scandals” by Daniel Ginsberg. From the minor leagues up through The World Series people have been trying to undermine the integrity of the game at least as far back as 1865!

The real lesson of that book is that baseball crime and punishment is best handled by baseball.

All the players arrested for fixing the 1919 World Series were acquitted at trial. It was the Baseball Commissioner, putting his foot down with lifetime bans, who brought the matter to a close.

The reason Pete Rose went to jail had nothing to do with betting on baseball. It was old-fashioned tax evasion.

Roger Clemens was acquitted for lying about steroid use.

In April, Barry Bonds’ conviction for Obstruction of Justice in the steroids scandal was overturned.



Barry Bonds: Played 22 seasons. Conviction for lying to a Grand Jury overturned.


The only real punishment was from baseball Commissioners.

The only thing criminal and Congressional investigation accomplished was to endlessly drag things out.

Any attempt to improperly alter the outcome of a public sports exhibition is a form of fraud and a crime—it’s what they prosecuted the 1919 White Sox for.

But, do we really want law enforcement investigating bribes, corked bats, stolen signals and spitballs?

Football has the right idea.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady could have been criminally prosecuted for stealing signals and “Deflategate”. They would be retired and in the Hall of Fame before those criminal investigations were completed. Whereas, the NFL Commissioner’s investigations and punishments were done in a matter of months. [Brady’s appeal to the Commissioner will take weeks rather than years in the Federal Courts.]

In a government investigation you have the benefit of all Constitutional Rights including the right to remain silent without it being used against you. As Brady found out, that was not the case in an NFL investigation. His refusal to cooperate rightly hung him out to dry and cost him a four game suspension and millions.

Here’s what the Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred should have done.

First, call a meeting of all the owners and ask for extraordinary powers to investigate and punish the bad actors.

Second, hire an outside law firm to conduct a full investigation with the power to permanently suspend anyone who fails to cooperate.

Thirdly, issue a final report naming names and punishments. If upper management was involved, penalties could include fines, loss of draft choices and a ban on post-season play. If one of those involved was an owner, he should be forced to sell his interest in the team.

Finally, if the lawyers detect involvement by outside persons, then and only then, make referrals to the police, the FBI, etc.

Handle it my way, and this will be old news by Opening Day 2016. If you use law enforcement, I would be surprised if it gets to a Grand Jury before next year’s All-Star Game. Trials and appeals will drag it out for years.

And the reason this version of the Chinese Water Torture is good for baseball is…?



The story of the investigation can be found here. 



8 Responses to “Inside Baseball Should Be Kept Inside Baseball”

  1. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I have to say it! Mr. Fields is not only RIGHT, but ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! With Terror threats all over the world, wasting time on Baseball issues is NUTS! I guess being a PATRIOTS FAN I am biased, but really, for the FBI to waste time and money on sports instead of terrorism and MAJOR CRIMES is just plain STUPID! Why can’t bureaucrats have some sense of PROPORTION?

  2. F. H. Walker says:

    Fields is right. The FBI has better things to do.

  3. zigy says:

    sam the real issue is does anyone with a knowledge of the competence of the FBI actually believe they can even conduct such a deep and obviously complex investigation isn’t this way above their level of ability……. and I do wish I was in jest.

  4. Kevin Hill says:


  5. Chaz Stevens says:


    It is against Federal Law to obtain unauthorized access into a computer network.

  6. SAM FIELDS says:


    Competence in the investigation.

    I would bet that MLB has a half dozen former FBI agents on staff. And if they didn’t I am sure the law firm hired to run the investigation would hire some of the hundreds out their with their own P.I. firms

    From what I learned this case is not involving internet hackers from China!

    When the Cards head scout, Frank Lunhow, took the job as GM for the Astros some Card employees worried that he might have taken some internal documents with him.

    Guessing that Lunhow might be dumb enough to use the same password with the Astros that he used with the Cards [notwithstanding an Ivy League education he was that dumb] they got into his computer and looked around.

    Exactly what they took and who they shared it with is unclear.

    That would be the gravamen of the investigation


    As a general rule, if a crime can be resolved without calling the cops it’s usually a better solution.

  7. Chaz Stevens says:

    So Sam, now we have two for-profit corporations deciding for themselves what Federal crimes need to be investigated?

    At your age, and worried about breaking a hip, I’d caution you to avoid that slippery slope.

  8. Chaz Stevens says:

    Do you remember when Target was hacked? Turns out, a 17 year old kid gained access to their entire network via the unsecured HVAC system, the fucking AC system, and then planted a man-in-the-middle hack on a credit card terminal.

    Change your passwords … always. Sloppy IT work, allowing for this.

    What else did they do … who is to say they didn’t plant malware, root kits, or something else? I’d certainly take a look around — payroll, medical, etc.

    Rest assured, if I gained unauthorized access into a MLB network, that club should, and would, raise holy hell.


    When he is not operating his website or advocating for good government, Chaz Stevens works in the technology field.