The Floridian squads met for two games in the Tampa Bay half of the so-called “Citrus Series” at Tropicana Field. The Rays would win both halves, earning an 8-6 victory on Saturday before triumphing 7-2 on Sunday.
Virtual vitriol began to be slung after the Marlins, seeking a bright side of a narrow loss, posted a video of right fielder Brian Anderson executing a strong throw to home after an Avisail Garcia single in the bottom of the eighth inning. The throw reached catcher Jorge Alfaro well in time to tag Austin Meadows, who attempted to score from second base. Video of the out was accompanied by the fully capitalized “HE’S THE MAN YOUR THIRD BASE COACH WARNED YOU ABOUT”.
The out kept the Tampa lead at 8-6, but Miami failed to score in the final frame. Ironically, the game ended with Anderson flying out to Garcia in right field. The Rays wondered why the Marlins were reluctant to show that highlight in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
The Marlins opted to make light of Tampa’s rumored move to Canada.
The storm quelled after that, but the pixelated skies opened once Tampa completed the sweep on Sunday. Tampa earned their first Citrus sweep since 2013 after they won two prior games in Miami this season, and let the Marlins know about it.
At that point, the Marlins, or whoever runs their Twitter account, lost their head completely.
The exclaimed tweet referenced the 2006 death of Australian zookeeper and television star Steve Irwin, who was killed when he was pierced in the heart by a stingray barb while filming a documentary in Queensland’s Batt Reef.
Tampa Bay ended their exchange in the thread by once again referring to the scoreboard. However, they couldn’t help but take a few more jabs at their fellow Floridans, even referencing their extinct home of the Orange Bowl.
On Monday afternoon, the Marlins backed down from their Irwin taunt, which was labeled as insensitive by some. Though the Tampa franchise has downplayed the string ray imagery since dropping the “Devil Rays” moniker in 2008 (opting for Rays to refer to sunlight instead), they wear a stingray logo on their jersey sleeves to this day. Tampa also reintroduced their inaugural Devil Rays uniform as a throwback last season.
This is not the first time the Marlins have tried to start some trouble online, but they made off slightly better that time around. The Rays, winners of six in a row, will next face off against another animal-themed squad, welcoming in the Toronto Blue Jays to St. Petersburg this week.