Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., meeting with local media on Thursday in St. Louis, said he was "shocked," "stunned," and "in disbelief" when he learned in January or February of an FBI investigation of his organization regarding an unauthorized breach of the Houston Astros computer system.
"There was zero knowledge until the FBI launched their investigation and we became aware of it," DeWitt said to a select group of reporters. To this day, DeWitt said, he is still trying to make sense of it.
"I still don't know the reason for it. I can't come up with a reason for it," he said.
DeWitt said there was no bad blood between the organization and Jeff Luhnow, who left the Cardinals to become general manager of the Astros in 2011, and Luhnow said the same in an interview with Sports Illustrated on Wednesday. DeWitt said he still does not know how many or the extent of the involvement of any Cardinals employees in what he termed an "illegal act."
As with any large organization, the possibility exists for unapproved independent action, he said. "That's kind of what we believe happened here," said DeWitt.
DeWitt said he has received supportive correspondence from other organizations and received public support from the Astros after his remarks on Thursday.
"[Owner and chairman] Jim [Crane], Jeff and our entire organization have a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. DeWitt and the Cardinals organization," Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe said. "We have no doubt that they will handle this appropriately."
DeWitt would not say what action the Cardinals might take against any employees found to have been involved, preferring instead to let the FBI investigation and the Cardinals own internal inquiry play out.
"We've clearly found some things in the internal investigation, and we've dealt with that and would continue to deal with that," DeWitt said.
DeWitt and GM John Mozeliak met with several hundred Cardinals employees prior to the media session on Thursday, telling them that they all have been "tarnished" by the accusations.
"Don't look at what other teams are doing," DeWitt said he told his employees. "Look at what we should be doing."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.