On Thursday morning, we linked to a Bob Elliott article in the Toronto Sun about scout Tom Burns leaving the Blue Jays for the Padres. The article was highlighted, in part, because there was mention that Burns felt unhappy at the way his former colleagues were treated, and there was a general tone that things are not all that well in the Blue Jays front office at One Blue Jays Way, especially since the appointment of Brian Parker as scouting director.
In the comment section of our piece, regular commenters e&n4e and MjwW mentioned that there was a previous edition of Elliott's piece that included a section that mentioned how Blue Jays vice-president of baseball operations and assistant general manager Tony LaCava and special assistant to the general manager Dana Brown are having a "turf war*" inside the organization.
(* Not to be confused with Paul Beeston's War on Turf)
Specifically, MjwW wrote:
There was a paragraph, or paragraphs, about how one of Elliott’s sources had said he heard from someone inside Toronto’s org that there was a turf war/power struggle between Dana Brown and LaCava, who are two of the few who actually have AA’s ear, and that may be the reason for some scouts leaving.
Adding to the intrigue was the date line of the article which showed that while the original was published at 7:28 pm, the current version came from an 11:16 pm update. I took a look at archived and cached copies of Elliott's piece but all linked back to the current version.
Thursday afternoon, Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans saw the discussion in the comments and wrote a piece on the alleged palace intrigue. He noted that Bluebird Banter commenters may be reading too much into the edit to think that it was due to some sort of order that went from the Blue Jays front office to the Toronto Sun, speculating that there are many things that could lead to an edited piece.
When Stoeten asked his readers to look for a cached copy, a reader emailed him a short while later with the original piece that was downloaded to his RSS reader (hey, pick it up, Bluebird Banter readers!). The removed paragraph allegedly read as follows:
We’re not sure it’s fair to blame Parker for all the changes. Opposing scouts say they hear out on the road a behind the scenes battle is waging between the Dana Brown and Tony LaCava camps. Brown, is an assistant to Anthopoulos, LaCava, an assistant GM, two of the few the GM listens to.
Between the time of e&n4e and MjwW's comments and the publishing of Stoeten's piece, I contacted Bob Elliott to confirm the change and to enquire about the reason behind those changes.
Elliott responded by saying that he had filed the story during the day and was at the Rogers Centre covering Tournament 12 this past Saturday when he got a call at 10:10 pm from his source. The source told him that, after reading the story, he realized the information he passed along was "dead wrong" and apologized to Elliott for the inconvenience. Realizing the error, Elliott called the Sun office to delete the paragraph around 10:12 pm.
So what we've learned is that e&n4e and MjwW were correct in their recollection of the paragraph, that it was indeed removed in a later edit, and that the change was made because Bob Elliott's source recanted his story after publication.
Does this prove that there isn't an internal battle between Brown and LaCava and that everything is happy and jolly in the front office? No, but now there is less evidence that there is something going on. It does seem fishy to me that a reliable source--at least one reliable enough for Elliott to use in a published piece of work--suddenly called after seeing the article to say that he was completely wrong about something he had passed along. That might very well been what happened, but it is... fishy.
I don't like baseless speculation about the goings-on inside clubhouses and front offices because they're generally nothing more than made up theories based on made up information. Perhaps there is indeed some friction between two factions inside the front office, but I will choose to wait for more evidence before making this a big issue.