The Sunday – Putting It Aside

Compiled by Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 8.27.2017

Weekend

It was suppose to be a big weekend for sports. There was the return of college football,MLB pennate races, MLS rivalry week and of course the ‘biggest fight ever’. This all of course has ended up being eclipsed by Hurricane Harvey which has put the Houston area underwater.

The remnants of the storm have put sporting events up in the air as teams, schools and games figure out what to do next. Rice’s football team returns from Sydney, Australia is in question. The team was beaten up by  #14 ranked Stanford 62-7 on Saturday night. They are due to land in Los Angeles on Monday and from there they will have to make a decision on what to do next.

Rice is among a couple of schools and games that have their first week up in the air.

The Houston Texans will be practicing in Dallas for the week. They changed their travel plans after their game against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night. After the game on Thursday in Dallas, it’s up in the air on what the Texans will do next.

The Houston Astros are also heading to Dallas after their series against the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. Whether or not they will play the Texas Rangers this week in Houston is up in the air.

Baseball Rules

Things got ugly on Thursday after what essentially relates to ‘baseball rules’. The rule goes, you hit our main guy, we hit your main guy. Sometimes it goes off without a hitch. Other times it turns into this.

 

Oh So Pretty

The Ultimate Catch

The best catch of the year may not be in the major leagues but in the Little League World Series.

Spectacle

Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor by TKO in the 10th round. It wasn’t really a surprise unless you really thought that an MMA fighter was going to beat the best boxer of all time in a boxing match.

Despite all the hype from those in the combat sports realm, the event was far from a sellout. According to the LA Times, T-Mobile arena was 6,000 people short of a sellout. 

 

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Sports Hacking And It’s Risks

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Former St Louis Cardinals Scouting Director Chris Correa was finally sentenced today for his role in the 2014 hack of the Houston Astros. He faces 46 months behind bars and a fine of over $250k. It seems pretty harsh but it raises a bigger question which is how secure are sports organizations data?

I wrote about this issue last year when it came to light. I wanted to know two fundamental things; 1) how does a team go about protecting it’s data and 2) if data was taken did it truly provide a measurable competitive advantage? In this case the federal prosecutors claimed that it cost the Astros $1.7 million. Does $1.7 million equal 46 months in prison? I think that is very much up for debate.

Some may feel that the sentence is harsh but when you look at the amount of statistical data floating around in MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLS and how much teams have come to rely on that data to select and identify potential season ticket holders, then one could argue that this sentence provides a deterrent to other individuals from attempting a similar thing. It doesn’t provide a deterrent to outside actors.

The fact is that we as a society do not know the boundaries yet for cyber crime which is what Correa was convicted of. In this case it would appear to be a law enforcement issue as data was take from a database without the owners knowledge or approval and it involved US citizens. However what if this was similar to the Sony hack? How does that change the game? (Pun intended.) Is this then just a law enforcement issue?

Former Gen. Michael Hayden talked about some of this in presentation this past January (pick it up around the 15 minute mark and no you can’t see his slides). What if, and yes we are in hypotheticals here, but what if Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a negative remark Russia that Russia took personally? Would that put the Mavericks database at risk? Would it put their season ticket holders information at risk? We already have precedent with the Sands Casino hack back in 2014 of a high profile individual making remarks that the Iranians didn’t like. You saw what happened there.

What responsibility did the Astros have to secure their own data? Doesn’t the blame, in part, fall on them? Yes Correa had to make the choice to infiltrate their network however it does appear that once inside he had full reign. One could argue that the Astros should have had an extra layer of authentication like an RSA key in order to gain access to their proprietary network.

Sports organizations with all their data and high profiles need to start looking at themselves in the context of everything else. While this case is about gaining access to player information and potential player acquisitions, it raises a much bigger question about sports franchises level as a target to outside actors. What if China decided to hack the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys and release all of the season ticket holder info? Two iconic American brands hacked because the US Government did something that the Chinese didn’t like.

Impossible? It’s really not that far off. In any event Correa isn’t a terrorist or a state sponsor of one. He isn’t an Eastern European criminal gang but he is going to prison none the less. And one last point, neither of these teams have won the World Series in the last few years so is 46 months really a fitting punishment?

What to Watch: Fri. 4/22 – Sun. 4/24

All times are Pacific.

Friday April 22nd

Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals – 4pm NBCSN: The Caps look to close out the Flyers in only 5 games.

LA Dodgers at Colorado Rockies – 5:40pm MLB.TV: Believe it or not but these are the two top teams in the NL West.

San Jose Sharks at LA Kings – 7:30pm CNBC: Couple of years ago the Kings came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Sharks in the first round and go on to win the Stanley Cup. Just sayin.

 

Saturday April 23rd

Hertha BSC Berlin vs FC Bayern Munich – 6:30am FS2: Berlin is not going to catch Munich but would they sure love to give Dortmund a chance to.

Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers – Noon TNT: Raptors are up 2-1 but it hasn’t been easy by any means.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC – 1pm MLS.TV: Lots of talent on display along with the fact that these two cities don’t care for each other very much.

Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks – 3pm NBCSN: Series is tied 2-2 as they head back to SoCal. The road team has won ever game in this series. Weird.

St Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks – 5pm NBC: The Blackhawks staved off elimination to bring the series back to Chi-Town. Blues are still up 3-2. And yes, this series is turning into what we all hoped it would be.

 

LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake – 7:30pm MLS.TV: The best game in the West for your soccer Saturday.

UFC 197 – 7pm PPV: Jon Jones returns to the Octagon to take on Ovince Saint Preaux for the interim Light Heavyweight Title. Not enough? Fine. Demetrious Johnson defends his belt for the eighth time and former Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis goes up against Edson Barboza which should, let’s face it, be the best fight on the card.

LA Clippers at Portland Blazers – 7:30pm  ESPN: Clippers are up 2-0 but beating Portland in the Rose City is a whole ‘nother thing.

 

Sunday April 24th

San Jose Earthquakes vs Sporting KC – 12:30pm ESPN: These two are separated by a point in the standings and there is a whole lot of offensive firepower on display in this one.

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets – 12:30pm ABC: Steph Curry should be back in this one for the Warriors.

Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros – 5pm ESPN: And some Sunday Night Baseball to cap off the weekend.

Hacking Baseball

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

You may or may not have heard that the Houston Astros were hacked and it was apparently done by their former division rivals, the St Louis Cardinals. It’s serious enough that the Department of Justices and the FBI are investigating and subpoenas have been handed out. While many are wondering ‘who did it’ or ‘why’,  the rest of us are wondering how has this not happened sooner.

HACKING

The Astros were alleged victims of hacking last season too when a bunch of internal information hit the Internet. While it is unclear if this new case is related, what we do know is that in this new case the hackers were able to use an old password of Astros GM and former Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow.

Regardless of who is responsible, this should be the first of a many hacks we will be seeing across the sports landscape. While this isn’t as severe as Stuxnet or the breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OMP)this is sports after all and not national security but it does, technically, fall under the umbrella of ‘corporate espionage’. One entity was possibly attempting to acquire another’s inside information and in the process gain a possible competitive advantage.

Trying to gain a competitive advantage is half of sports though. From stealing signs in baseball to spying on practices to the New England Patriots ‘Spygate’ (Why do the Patriots always get caught up in ‘gate’ anyway?) Trying to gain an advantage has always been and always will be a part of the sports landscape. The question now is if trying to gain that advantage may violate state and federal law.

The Cardinals may have been able to gain a competitive advantage by gaining access to the Astros ‘Ground Control’ application but with everyone using data analytics these days, this can’t possibly be the first time this has happened. The Oakland A’s pioneered the big data revolution back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s so it is hard to believe that over the last 15 years or so that no one has gained access to or capitalized off proprietary baseball information.

Regardless of who, how or why someone ‘hacked’ into another sports franchises proprietary system is almost irrelevant. What matters now is A) how do you protect the data you own and B) if data was taken did it truly provide a measurable competitive advantage? This is the beginning, not the end of this. The consequences of heavy reliance upon analytics is here so we better get use to it.

What To Watch Thurs. June 25th -Sun. June 28th

All times are Pacific.

Thursday June 25th

NBA Draft – 4pm ESPN: Well there isn’t a LeBron or Jordan in there but it’s entertaining none the less.

Ottawa Redblacks at Montreal Alouettes – 4:30pm ESPN2: It’s Football!!!! We can only hope that the Redblacks will be better than the 2-16 they put up last year.

NY Yankees at Houston Astros – 5pm MLB Network: Yankees are game behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East and the Astros are the surprise team of 2015 baseball season.

REMOTE

Friday June 26th

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Calgary Stampeders – 6pm ESPN2: A rematch of last years Grey Cup. Not a bad game for opening weekend.

NHL Draft – 4pm NBCSN: While it doesn’t get the fanfare the NBA Draft will get, it is still a first look at the future of the sport.

 

Saturday June 27th

Toronto FC vs DC United – 2pm MLS Live: Two of the better teams in the East and a chance to see some big time stars like Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.

College Soccer National Championship – 2pm ESPNU: Virginia vs UCLA as UVA goes their second National Title in four days in two different sports.

NE Revolution vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 4:30pm MLS Live: Second place team in the East vs the second place team in the West.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan Roughriders – 5pm ESPN3: Probably the best venue in all of the CFL plus Rider quarterback Darian Durantis back. If he can stay healthy the Riders are a force to be reckoned with in the East.

 

Sunday June 28th

NYCFC vs NY Red Bulls – 1:30pm ESPN: Three points separate these two teams. Hell, the distance between stadiums is more than that.

Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders – 4pm FS1: No Clint Dempsey but it’s still the best rivalry in MLS.

Chicago Cubs at St Louis Cardinals – 5pm ESPN: Two of baseball’s oldest rivals. Not to mention that they are first and second in the NL Central.