State ends push to elect Bogaerts to All-Star team
Electronic message might conflict with regulations
A state-sponsored push to get Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts elected by fan voting to the American League All-Star team was ended early Friday morning by officials at MassDOT before Twitter voting began.
Messages showing the hashtag #XforASG popped up Thursday on electronic road signs around the state.
Even though Gov. Charlie Baker had tweeted his support with the message "Love that @MassDOT is on board with supporting Xander Bogaerts," the signs appear to be somewhat at odds with federal regulations for the permissible use for electronic highway message boards.
The federal regulations offer the guidance that "changeable message signs should not be used to display information other than regulatory, warning, and guidance information related to traffic control."
Critics had posted comments on Baker's Twitter account asking if the electronic messages were an appropriate government priority and if they would encourage texting while driving.
"In the past, we've used message boards when rare opportunities surface where we can show some civic pride as we did for the Patriots just before the last Super Bowl," a spokesman for MassDOT said.
"There were no costs incurred for displaying the message supporting the Red Sox, and the messages which were set to expire this morning did so," the statement said.
While fans were voting Friday on Twitter. Bogaerts was in last place in the contest to be added to the American League team.