The Yankees have adopted the thumbs-down as a tool of positive reinforcement, ever since an unhappy man in the stands gave the gesture to Todd Frazier’s homer in last Monday’s game against the Rays. As it happens, the fan responsible for the gesture loves the other team in New York.
NJ.com caught up with Gary Dunaier, who’s from Queens and has season tickets to the Mets (the Yankees and Rays moved their series to the Mets’ stadium because of Hurricane Irma). There’s a layered origin story behind Dunaier’s thumbs-down: He was mad that something good happened to the Yankees.
Dunaier, seated in the second row behind the Yankees’ dugout, said he was surrounded by “a sea of Yankees fans.”
They were loud. Simply booing wouldn’t have been enough for Dunaier. He wouldn’t have been noticed by the players.
“It was a spur-of-the-moment decision,” he said. “The best thing I could do was make the thumbs down. That’s pretty much the origin.”
Amazing. Dunaier, who was good-humored about having his moment twisted into a symbol of motivation for the team he dislikes, also accurately called Yankee Stadium a “fake, soulless structure that was built on a parkland stolen from the neighborhood.”