Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I spy

A moment, please, while we turn the page on the NBA Finals, in which a man who never started a game (Andre Iguodala) was named MVP over a man who had the greatest Finals in NBA history (LeBron James).

There have been bigger travesties in the world of games, like the existence of FIFA. But this one is respectably good-sized, given that Golden State still would have won in six games had Iguodala's parents never met, and the Cavaliers would have been swept in four, by 20 points a game, had the same been true of LeBron.

But enough about that. Let's talk about spying instead.

Let's talk about the St. Louis Cardinals hacking into the Houston Astros' database, and why the FBI is investigating it (Quick answer: Because it crossed state lines). Now let's talk about the Blob's reaction to it, and why it's struggling to understand why this is all that big a deal.

The reaction is multi-layered, and can be broken down thusly:

1. This would never have happened had the Astros' password not been "Password."

2. Somewhere the Patriots are saying "Why didn't we think of this?"

3. Somewhere else Gaylord Perry is saying "And I thought Vaseline on the bill of my cap was cutting edge."

4. Forget the Astros. This means Adam Wainwright could soon own our nuclear launch codes. Think about that, America.

Look. I get that Major League Baseball is big business, and therefore this is corporate espionage. And the authorities take corporate espionage very seriously.

So I understand why the FBI is involved. But I also can't see anyone doing major time in Shawshank for this.

I can't, because, at bottom, I can't help thinking this is just a souped-up version of stealing another team's signs, a time-honored baseball tradition. Baseball has a lot of time-honored traditions, many of which are founded on a certain ethical elasticity. In other words, if you can get away with it, it ain't really cheatin'.

And so the stealing of signs, Gaylord's Vaseline, rubbing out the back line of the batter's box. On and on. Baseball being baseball, there are apparently lines you don't cross; its unwritten rules, silly as they are, still carry a certain force of law. But, baseball being baseball, those lines tend to be remarkably indistinct.   

Hacking into another team's computer system probably crosses those lines, or at the very least establishes new ones for a new age. But by how much do they cross those lines?

That's the question here. And as much as you all come to the Blob for answers to life's big questions (When did Fort Wayne become Seattle? How does the TV remote always manage to get wedged so deeply in the couch cushions you have to take the whole couch apart to find it?), it has none in this case.

Sorry, folks. My bad.

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