The Miami Marlins attempted to tease the Tampa Bay Rays by accusing them of killing the Crocodile Hunter star
The Miami Marlins have apologized for joking about the death of Steve Irwin as part of a Twitter exchange with in-state rivals the Tampa Bay Rays.
The MLB team, which is owned by Derek Jeter, fired off the offending tweet on its official account after the Rays’ social media team teased the Marlins, who they swept in a two-game series.
The exchange began with the Marlins sharing video of right fielder Brian Anderson throwing out Rays player Austin Meadows at home plate, and ended with the team tweeting about the late Crocodile Hunter star.
“yOU’RE LITERALLY THE ANIMAL THAT KILLED STEVE IRWIN LOG OFF,” the tweet, directed at the Rays, read.
Though it received at least 42,000 likes and a decent amount of praise from fans who found it funny, others were not so amused, calling it in “bad taste” and “really really low.”
“This was a regrettable exchange by our otherwise creative social media team. Unfortunately, in this medium, sometimes we swing and miss, and this was definitely a miss,” the team later said in a statement, according to ESPN.
An apology that focused more on the social media team’s love for Irwin was also shared.
“Hi, guys. Like everyone who grew up watching him, we miss Steve. We’re so sorry to have made light of his passing,” the team wrote on Twitter.
Irwin, 44, was killed in 2006 after he was pierced in the heart by a stingray during a diving expedition off the coast of Australia.
RELATED VIDEO: Terri Irwin On Life After Steve’s Death: ‘I Miss Him But I’m Not Alone’
The Rays, meanwhile, used to be called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (an animal different from the stingray) but dropped the “devil” in 2007, with the team saying at the time that the name now referred to a ray of sunshine.
Still, it’s not the first time they’ve been controversially linked to the late Irwin, who was also a conservationist and zookeeper.
In 2013, the Rays apologized after mascot Raymond was photographed holding up a sign that featured a “Rays To Do List.” The first task, Steve Irwin, was crossed off, and the second goal was listed as a World Series championship.
The team said in a statement that the mascot was given the “inappropriate” sign by a fan, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“The Tampa Bay Rays regret that this particular sign was displayed in the ballpark, and we apologize for the lapse in judgment,” the statement read.