Meet Mis­ter Thumbs Down

THE METS FAN WHO GAVE YAN­KEES STRETCH-RUN RALLY CRY

New York Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHAYNA JACOBS and DE­NIS SLAT­TERY With Chris­tian Red

A DOWN-TURNED THUMB and a dour ex­pres­sion have in­spired a quirky Yan­kees cel­e­bra­tion and cat­a­pulted a Queens man into semi-star­dom.

The only down­side is he’s a Mets fan.

Gary Du­naier, 54, a Queens na­tive and a proud mem­ber of the Flush­ing Faith­ful, has be­come fa­mous for flash­ing a thumbs down, a sign of his dis­gust that the Bronx team that took over Citi Field for a few days ear­lier this week.

Du­naier, a court of­fice as­sis­tant at Man­hat­tan Crim­i­nal Court, told the Daily News on Fri­day he was stunned by his sud­den celebrity.

“So just spur of the mo­ment I came up with idea of just stand­ing up and mak­ing the thumbs down ges­ture,” he said. “A sim­ple lit­tle thumbs down and all of a sud­den it’s be­come so pop­u­lar. It’s like a meme.”

The Yan­kees have since adopted the act, flash­ing thumbs down at one an­other on the field af­ter they score a run or a get a base hit.

Du­naier thumbed his way into Yan­kee lore on Mon­day when the team was play­ing the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field due to Hur­ri­cane Irma pum­mel­ing the Sunshine State. The Mets sea­sonticket holder was seated two rows be­hind the Bombers’ dugout when third base­man Todd Frazier belted a three-run homer, and YES Net­work cam­eras caught a dis­pleased Du­naier look­ing like a Ro­man em­peror send­ing a de­feated glad­i­a­tor to his death.

Two days later, Frazier of­fered the same ges­ture in point­ing and ac­knowl­edg­ing the Bombers dugout — as is cus­tom­ary pro­ce­dure with this team — af­ter de­liv­er­ing an RBI sin­gle.

By Thurs­day, the whole team was do­ing it.

“I meant it as de­ri­sion and they’re tak­ing it as a pos­i­tive thing,” Du­naier said. “That’s funny. It’s hi­lar­i­ous. What else can you say, you know?”

He couldn’t be­lieve his silent sign of con­tempt landed his pic­ture in The News. “When I first saw my pic­ture in the New York Daily News I was sur­prised by the ‘Are you thumbs-down guy?’ head­line,” he said. “If I didn’t re­veal my­self I was won­der­ing how many days you would run that.”

His col­leagues at the court­house were sur­prised too. “They were telling me I’m a star and ev­ery­thing,” Du­naier added.

Frazier told The News he was just as shocked the thumbs down has given the Yanks such a boost. The team’s gone 5-1 since Du­naier sig­naled his dis­plea­sure.

“I saw it on re­play. When I got in,” he said, “I started see­ing guys with their thumbs down. It was pretty cool. I mean, you think some­thing so op­po­site of what’s sup­posed to hap­pen, ac­tu­ally like cliche now.”

Du­naier says he has no in­ter­est in watch­ing the boys from the Bronx bang the ball around, no mat­ter which park they’re play­ing in, but he’d wel­come a show of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for his inspiratio­nal ges­ture.

“The Yan­kees are mak­ing money off of this. I should make a lit­tle bit too — why not?” he said. “I’m the orig­i­na­tor of it.”

Frazier sug­gested a meet-and­greet at Yan­kee Sta­dium.

“We might have to bring him in the club­house here and just walk around,” the 31-year-old Point Pleas­ant, N.J., na­tive said.

Du­naier says he’d set­tle for some­thing from the team in Queens as well. “A to­ken of grat­i­tude from the Mets for be­ing loyal and show­ing my sup­port.”

Gary Du­naier

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