Mets fan's thumbs down sparks Yankees postseason rallying cry

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Friday, October 13, 2017
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Jim Dolan interviews the man who has become the face of the Yankees postseason surge

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As the New York Yankees head to the American League Championship Series for the first time in five years, you'd think their fans would have nothing but thumbs up.

So why are so many fans and players giving a thumbs down these days?

It's the new rallying cry for this team, and it's spawned memes and even T-shirts. It all started with Gary Dunaier, a Mets fan who was caught on camera during a game in September.

Hurricane Irma forced the Rays out of Tampa, prompting the a three-game series with the Yankees to be moved to Citi Field. There, in the top of the fourth inning, Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier jacked a pitch over the left field wall for a home run. As he trotted back to the dugout, the announcers keyed on Dunaier, standing in the crowd and offering a unenthusiastic thumbs down.

"Frazier said I looked like I lost my puppy dog," he said. "I don't even have a pet, so that's another wrong point for Mr. Frazier."

Maybe, but the frigid gesture got the players' attention. And they turned that thumbs down into rallying cry. Every big hit, every home run is greeted by a thumbs down.

"I'm still in stunned disbelief that this whole thing happened," Dunaier said. "I really have not been able to totally grasp the enormity. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm right in the center of the whirlwind."

And it started right away. Later in the same game, Dunaier was walking through the stadium when he started getting attention.

"A couple people wanted to take their pictures with me," he said. "I became a star. I became the latest and the greatest internet sensation."

Dunaier, a Mets season ticket holder, takes no joy in spraying gas on the fire that is the Yankees surprise trip to and through the playoffs. But for the first time in his life, he kind of hopes they keep going.

"It would be to my advantage if the Yankees were to win," he said. "I'm not going to say 'Go Yankees,' for obvious reasons."

Being a Mets fan though, it would probably haunt him.