What was supposed to be some light-hearted trash talk between the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays Twitter accounts on Sunday ended in a pair of apologies once the Marlins used Steve Irwin’s death as an insult.
Basically, the back-and-forth started after the Marlins shared a Statcast video of Brian Anderson’s outfield assist from Saturday’s game. The Rays told the Marlins to show the final out (the Rays won, 8-6). And the Marlins followed that up with an apparent joke about the Rays’ potential split move to Montreal.
Matters escalated when the Rays revisited the tweet following their series sweep on Sunday. The Marlins then responded and invoked Irwin’s death to tell the Rays to log off.
Irwin, an Australian television personality, died in 2006 after an incident involving a stingray.
The tweet, which was still live as of Monday afternoon, drew a harsh response from fans, many saying it was in poor taste. The Marlins issued a statement and planned to handle the matter internally:
“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 Marlins issued an apology on Twitter as well, responding directly to the tweet.
While some leagues like the NBA and MLS have discouraged brand accounts from trolling each other on Twitter, MLB doesn’t appear to have such a policy (at least not publicly).
Still, the Marlins social team probably should have realized that the tweet wasn’t a great idea before they published it.