Red Sox wrongly confiscated fan's 'Pay Devers' sign at Winter Classic originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The 2023 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park went off without a hitch for the B's, who beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 and appeared to enjoy every minute of the unique experience.
But John Henry may have had less of a good time. The Red Sox principal owner -- whose Fenway Sports Group also owns a majority stake in the Penguins -- was booed and heckled by Boston fans frustrated by the underperformance of Henry's baseball team.
One fan tried to voice his opinion via a sign he brought to Fenway Park that read, "Pay Devers Please," a nod to star third baseman Rafael Devers, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency after the 2023 season.
According to the fan, a security guard at Fenway Park confiscated his sign at the gate (despite appearing to sympathize with the sign's message).
"I didn't really get an explanation as to why," the fan, Mike Mullen, told the Boston Herald's Jason Mastrodonato. "The security guard said 'I agree man' to the sign, then called over another person to look at it and he said no. So they kept my sign. I read the 'fan code of conduct' and felt my sign didn't violate any of the guidelines there."
The sign indeed doesn't violate any terms on the "Fenway Park Security" section of the Red Sox' website, which prohibits signs only if they contain messaging that's obscene, political or commercial in nature.
A Red Sox spokesperson actually confirmed as much to Mastrodonato, suggesting the sign shouldn't have been taken.
"(Fenway Park security officials) made a subjective judgement call because this was an NHL event. Had they run it by management, it would have been allowed and we are stressing that with the team that was on site," the spokesperson said.
We can sympathize with the security guard, who may have been unclear about the guidelines for an NHL event at an MLB ballpark and decided to err on the side of caution. Still, it certainly wouldn't be a good look for the Red Sox to censor any criticism of its team that doesn't cross any lines.
Unless the Red Sox make significant improvements between now and Opening Day -- or agree to terms with Devers on a contract extension -- Henry can expect to hear plenty more criticism from fans.