NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you’ve been watching the Yankees games, you’ve seen a lot of thumbs down from the fans and the players.
But for this year’s Yankees, thumbs down is a good thing now – though it all started with a Mets fan who was not making a supportive gesture. CBS2’s Cindy Hsu introduced us Thursday to the man who started it all.
The whole thing started about five weeks ago, when the Yankees’ Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field — the game displaced by Hurricane Irma. Cameras caught a Mets Fan giving a thumbs down to the Yankees home run.
The whole thing went viral, and the team turned the disrespectful gesture into a positive rallying cry for the Yankees. So fans and the team would give a thumbs down whenever the Yankees got a hit or a run.
The guy behind the sensation is Gary Dunaier, a Mets season ticket holder from Queens. He said he is shocked by all the attention.
“Stunned disbelief,” Dunaier said. “I had no idea that it was going to explode like that and I’m still amazed.”
But explode it has. Dunaier has now become quite the celebrity, with Yankees fans stopping him all over the place for selfies.
“He’s the man. He’s a legend out here,” said Yankees fan John Marino.
Marino said it doesn’t matter that Dunaier is a Mets fan.
“I guess, yeah — all my friends got his hoodies and stuff,” Marino said.
And lots of fans are buying thumbs down T-shirts. Thomas Szweada says he and his grandkids love it, and 7-year-old Joseph is getting a shirt.
“He loves the Yankees and thumbs down. He’s been doing it ever since they’ve been doing it on TV,” Szweada said. “He’s a big Yankee fan and so am I.”
Dunaier is also getting his own Bobblehead, and he’ll get an undisclosed cut of the sales.
So now what does he think of the Yankees?
“Well I’m still Met fan — that’s first and foremost,” he said. “But I think the success of the Yankees is very good for New York City.”
The next game is Friday night in Houston. If the Yankees win, to the World Series they go.