Rays apologize after mascot wields 'inappropriate' Steve Irwin sign

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

So here's what "Raymond," the Rays' official mascot, did to put his employers squarely in damage-control mode (image courtesy of Lloyd Johnson) ...

Shots fired! You'll recall, of course, that Steve Irwin -- better known by his nom de insanity, "The Crocodile Hunter" -- met his untimely demise in 2006 after being gored in the chest by a stingray. Therein lies the joke and the fallout.

As the Tampa Tribune notes, the sign was not Raymond's; rather a fan handed it to him, and Raymond subsequently brandished it for a photo op. So at worst, consider the world's furriest ray to be merely an accessory to poor taste.

As for the team, here's the official statement:

"Rays mascot Raymond was handed an inappropriate sign brought to the game by a fan. Fans are welcome to bring signs into Tropicana Field provided they are not offensive.

"The Tampa Bay Rays regret that this particular sign was displayed in the ballpark, and we apologize for the lapse in judgment."

No word on whether Raymond will be handed over to Randall Simon for corporal punishment.

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