Tampa Bay Rays apologise for Steve Irwin sign

A baseball team in America has apologised after its mascot posed with a sign mocking the death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin.

At a match last week, the Tampa Bay Rays mascot was photographed holding a sign reading "Rays To Do List".

Number 1 on the list was Irwin's name with a line through and a photo of the wildlife advocate, who was killed by a sting ray in 2006.

Number 2 on the list was winning the World Series.

"Last night Rays mascot Raymond was handed an inappropriate sign brought to the game by a fan," a club statement read.

"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 apologise for the lapse in judgment."

But the fan who made the sign says critics should lighten up.

"I love Steve Irwin but come on, it's funny," 29-year-old Army veteran Lloyd Johnson told the New York Daily News.

"Every time I stood up I was stopped to take a picture with someone. I probably took 20-30 photos with people.

"The reaction, at least from what I heard at the stadium and on Facebook, was positive."