Speaking on Thursday afternoon, St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt wasted little time in making it clear he was unaware of the alleged hacking activities of a possible employee into the Houston Astros database.

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“I wanted to start by saying that I had no knowledge either before the alleged time frame that someone was interested in going into another club’s website or when it allegedly occurred, or subsequent to that fact, gee we’ve got this information–help us decide, whatever it is regarding player personnel,” began DeWitt. “There was zero knowledge until the F.B.I. launched their investigation and we became aware of it as far as I’m personally concerned.”

DeWitt and John Mozeliak answered questions for about 40 minutes on the topic and also expressed some questions of their own.

MLB: St Louis Cardinals-Workout“It didn’t make any sense to me,” stated DeWitt on the shock at learning of the investigation. “First of all, we pride ourselves on developing original material and having cutting edge material and I think we’ve done a good job. Secondly, this is an illegal activity. It just kind of shocked me that someone would consider doing that–and I still don’t know the reason for it. I can’t come up with a reason for it.”

“I was shocked, stunned, dumb in disbelief that someone associated with us would do this,” said DeWitt adding that he was upset that “roguish behavior” by such a miniscule part of the organization was shedding such a negative light on the Cardinals.

“I am committed to getting to the bottom of this,” he said to finish his opening remarks. “Certainly the F.B.I. will conclude their work and there will be action taken, I assume, depending on how it all plays out. Once this is completed, I know that the organization–which is already close-knit, will come together even further and be stronger than ever. It’s not a great time in the Cardinal organization to have to deal with this, but it’s an issue. It’s a problem. It’s something we’re not happy with and as we said in our press release, those responsible will be held accountable. We will move on and continue what we feel is a great franchise here in St. Louis.”

Due to legal implications and the federal investigation, DeWitt refrained from making the blanket statement that anyone involved would be terminated from their position with the club. “We don’t know who did what here,” said DeWitt. “To the extent that anybody was involved in anyway that was egregious they’re going to pay the consequences.”

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Senior Vice President and General Counsel Michael Whittle was present during the media session, and also advised not to answer if the Cardinals were paying for the private legal representation retained by some employees.

The Cardinals have been in the process of conducting their own investigation of the matter, which initially did not begin with their learning of the news because they were advised by legal counsel to avoid doing anything that would upset the federal investigation and stick with business as usual.

“The sense we got was this would be–the most effective way for them to do their work is if initially we just went about our business and that nobody really knew about it, that it wouldn’t be public, and so we respected that,” answered DeWitt if asking for someone to come forward rather than have a drawn out investigation had ever been on the table.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals“We’ve used the word ‘culture’ a lot today and one of the words I feel dovetails into that is trust,” said Mozeliak. “We have created on the baseball operations side a lot of autonomy to let people do their jobs and to have some ownership of it and then to find out that maybe something like this has occurred or alleged is disappointing. And the more you learn about it, it’s a little frightening too. And so, it’s just one of those things that as we’re learning and growing with it, it’s created a frustration and a disappointment that’s certainly alive and well right now.”

Both DeWitt and Mozeliak also expressed a good relationship with Houston General Manager Jeff Luhnow–both attended his wedding in 2012 and have had other communications with their former colleague.

“No,” answered Mozeliak if he and Luhnow had discussed the matter. “I ran into him one time at Spring Training, we both sort of acknowledged that this was going on but there wasn’t a conversation on it.”

The timetable for when the F.B.I. investigation remains unclear and DeWitt said they have not yet discussed or received an indication of any potential discipline from Major League Baseball.

photo credit: Joe Camporeale, Scott Rovak, Jason Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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