Rockies sell out World Series tickets day after 'malicious attack'
Oct. 23, 2007 CBSSports.com wire reports
DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies sold out all three World Series games at Coors Field on Tuesday, one day after their first attempt collapsed in a computer-system crash blamed on people trying to fool the system to hoard tickets.
The Rockies, who had labeled the problem as an "external, malicious attack", said they sold more than 50,000 tickets in the second round of ticket sales in about 2½ hours.
"The online system, after a slow start, certainly worked very, very well for us," club spokesman Jay Alves said.
He said the team was sorry that not all fans who wanted to go to the game were able to buy tickets but he said the team's decision to sell tickets online was the fairest way to do it.
Bob Bowman, CEO of MLB.com, Major League Baseball's Internet wing, said Tuesday that the system was overloaded Monday by powerful computers that were programmed to constantly generate five-digit codes that are meant to prove that an actual human is trying to buy tickets. Bowman said those computers were blocked from buying tickets on Monday but their attempts to connect weren't discarded, allowing them to clog the system and ultimately knock it down.
Bowman said ticket brokers could have been responsible but he wasn't sure whether trying to trick the computer system was a crime.
Fans crowded public libraries in Denver trying to buy tickets online before the system died after getting hacked.
"There are people who don't want to play by the rules. Those are the people who create programs to bombard these sites," Bowman said.
Irvine, Calif.-based Paciolan Inc., which operates the computer servers, didn't return phone calls and e-mails seeking an explanation about what happened.
Alves said he was unaware of any criminal investigation into what happened Monday. The FBI in Denver didn't return a call asking whether the office was investigating.
Dave Marcus of McAfee Avert Labs, the research arm of antivirus software maker McAfee Inc., said it sounded like Paciolan didn't configure its software correctly to kick off users that were trying to trick the system.
"I wouldn't call that malicious. It's just someone trying to buy more tickets than they're allowed to in an automated way," he said.
But Alves said it was malicious because it was an attempt to disrupt the Rockies' ticket distribution method. MLB.com spokesman Matt Gould agreed because he said their attempts locked fans out of buying tickets Monday.
"There were people who schemed to cause a disruption in what is a landmark moment in Rockies franchise history," he said. "That's malicious any way you define it."