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Rays tweet Valentine’s Day messages to every team in baseball

The team threw shade at the Yankees but resisted the urge to poke fun at the scandal-plagued Astros and Red Sox.
The Tampa Bay Rays tweeted individual Valentine's Day messages to each of the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball. [Twitter/Tampa Bay Rays]

When the Rays’ digital marketing team decided to send personalized Valentine’s Day messages to every team in Major League Baseball, it wanted to start with a bang.

So, it fired a shot across the bow of its biggest rival.

But while the organization had no problem riling the Yankees’ fan base, the messages to the other 28 teams — crafted by Ryan Delgado, the Rays’ manager of digital marketing, and Erin Hodges, the team’s digital coordinator — are meant to be complimentary.

“It’s something we’re trying to do to have our social voice be different, be unique, and be professional at the same time,” Delgado said.

The Rays have created graphics that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” or cards featuring player images in the past but wanted to do something more engaging this year.

The idea for the personalized messages came from a similar thread the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes created in November in honor of World Kindness Day.

“We try on our accounts to not just check a box for the holidays,” Delgado said, “but to find a different way to get that message out.”

It took the team about a week to come up with all of the messages, Delgado said. They then had to be run through proper channels.

Most of the initial ideas made it through. A couple did not.

The Rays resisted the urge to poke fun at the Astros and Red Sox, currently caught up in one of the biggest cheating scandals in league history.

“With Houston, there was plenty we could have done,” Delgado said. “But we wanted to error on the side of caution.”

Rather than capitalize on the sign-stealing scandal that forced the Red Sox to fire manager Alex Cora, the Rays’ message is a nod to new Boston general manager and former Rays executive Chaim Bloom.

The Rays had some fun with the Marlins, who had to make a public apology in August after firing off a tweet that accused the Rays of being “the animal that killed Steve Irwin.”

Irwin, the popular subject of the TV show, “The Crocodile Hunter,” died in 2006 after being stabbed in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in the Great Barrier Reef.

The Marlins’ all-caps tweet concluded, “Log Off.”

Which is where the Rays resumed the conversation on Friday.

A few clubs, including the Braves, Tigers, Rangers, Phillies and Nationals, tweeted back, Delgado said.

The Phillies’ response was particularly creative, accepting the Rays’ offer of a rose, a la “The Bachelor,” with another reference to the popular TV show.

The message to the Cubs (“You’re cute as a Cub”) underwent a modification after Delgado thought about the team’s Friday matinee games.

The Tigers were difficult, Delgado said, so the Rays went with a “playful roar.”

Delgado tried to avoid the obvious when it came to the Angels.

He was stumped on the Blue Jays until he remembered a classic song by the O’Jays.

Here are all of the others:

One fan requested a personalized message for her dog.

Of course, the Rays complied.