New details emerge about Twins' secret 'PRISM' information-collecting program

USA TODAY Sports

Sources inside the Twins organization have exclusively revealed some of the details of the Twins' information gathering, which was massive in scope.

The Minnesota Twins have engaged in a massive data-gathering operation for the past several years, according to documents obtained by Twinkie Town from sources inside the organization. The documents show that the Twins have routinely gathered reams of data on everything from opposing players to their own employees, information that they have attempted to use in their day-to-day operations.

According to the documents, the program extended to the highest levels of the organization; general manager Terry Ryan and team president Dave St. Peter both knew about the information gathering and were kept abreast of the results. Indeed, several of the documents indicate that the program was begun at the Ryan's behest during his earlier stint as general manager, and was continued by his successor, Bill Smith.

Information gleaned from the so-called 'PRISM' program was used on a daily basis, though internal memos show that Ryan and Smith had their doubts. A briefing titled "Maybe let's not give up on J.J. Hardy quite yet, we haven't exactly got shortstops growing on trees around here" bears a scrawl across the bottom reading, "Yeah, but he says he's hurt, and I'm pretty sure he's lying - B. Smith."

The documents also include several other notes of interest:

  • A ten-page report titled "The value of catching prospects" goes without emendation of any kind - except for the final page, which is a printout of Matt Capps's baseball-reference.com page. The word "All-Star" has been heavily circled, and an exclamation point has been added in the margins.
  • An internal memo from Ryan to his staff mentions a document titled "The truth about Kevin Correia." Though the original report is not included, in the memo, Ryan directs his staff to "re-print" the numbers "to match up with what our scouts are saying." Among other exhortations, he reminds the staff that it's important that everyone "be on board with the guys in the field."
  • A report with the heading "Why the Japanese league isn't as good as the major leagues" is included as an attachment to a very short memo, signed by Smith: "I looked it up on the internets and it says the league is called Nippon Professional Baseball. That's professional with a capital P. You guys need to dig a little deeper because they couldn't call it Professional if it wasn't the same."
  • A short email from Smith to several area representatives, reproduced here: "the guy says the printer isn't working right now. just go ahead and sign marquis, i'm sure his numbers will end up looking fine."

The name of the program was not explained in the documents, but according to the source, 'PRISM' is short for 'PRinting Internet Stuff Manually'.

The organization, through a spokesman, refused to comment on the existence of the program. Reached at his desk, Ryan was similarly evasive, saying, "You internet guys, you can just make up anything you want on your printing thing."

Representatives from Sports Reference, LLC, the source for most of the information in the documents, denied working in secret with the Twins to provide the data. "This data is available to anyone with an internet connection," said a company spokesman. "Frankly, I can't - they're printing it all out? Why are they printing it all out?"

When reached for comment, executives at Major League Baseball laughed uncontrollably. "That explains a lot," said one executive who requested anonymity while wiping tears of laughter from his eyes.

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