The thumbs-down Mets fan is the meme baseball needs
The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of the Cut4Cast podcast. To hear more of the Cut4 staff's weekly banterings about which position player is the best at pitching or how baseball would work in outer space, subscribe to the Cut4Cast by clicking here.
Last week, the Yankees and Rays played a series at Citi Field, due to the Tampa area's continuing recovery from Hurricane Irma. In perhaps the most iconic game of the series, the world was introduced to a particular fan who immediately became a media sensation. On this week's Cut4Cast, Dakota Gardner, Gemma Kaneko and Jessica Kleinschmidt praise the hero we deserves: The Thumbs-Down Mets Fan.
Dakota: In Monday's game Todd Frazier hit a three-run home run to left field, and as he was running around the bases, one fan particularly did not enjoy the home run. And he stood and simply gave a thumbs down to the play. For some reason, [he] became the most iconic baseball fan of the year.
The New York Daily News tracked him down. His name is Gary Dunaier. He's 54 years old and he is a Mets fan, which is why he was giving the thumbs down. They talked to him and he said, "So just spur of the moment, I came up with the idea of just standing up and making the thumbs down gesture."
A simple little thumbs down all of a sudden has become so popular, it's like a meme. The Yankees have embraced this. They have custom shirts that they're wearing with the thumbs down, they are photobombing each other's interviews with the thumbs down.
Aaron Judge (@TheJudge44) September 20, 2017
This has taken the New York metropolitan area by storm. My theory is it's because this guy looks like famed fantasy writer George R.R. Martin, but there could be many other reasons why. [Martin] is also, I believe, a Mets fan.
Gemma: Oh, true, yeah.
Dakota: I love this just because [it's] simple, just a still thumbs down. He doesn't shout, he doesn't get crazy, he doesn't do the stuff you might see another fan doing. No, just a simple thumbs down. Gemma, what did you think?"
Gemma: I agree, I loved this. I think the reason it's so great is because his facial expression is completely stoic. He's got these big glasses and the suspenders and it's just like a guy who saying, "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed." And that is so unusual, for that crispness of expression.
Because usually fans who react, there's a lot going on, there's a lot happening, there's facial expressions, there's yelling, whatever. No, this is plain, it's easy to read, it's extremely simple, it's just, it conveys his feelings so clearly without having to resort to additional bells and whistles. I think that's why it's so meme-able. It's just like, "Nope, nope, no to all of this. Just nope." Dakota's making the face at me, which you can't see because this is a podcast.
Dakota: It is. This is radio. Jess, I want to hear what you think about thumbs-down Mets fan.
Jessica: I appreciate his confidence because he just stands up there. You can see all the Yankees fans behind him like sitting down, and he's like, "No, I am just going to stand here with my thumb down because I am a hardcore fan." Yeah, it's awkward but it's a beautiful meme. The moment it happened you're like this is literally going to go viral, and it did. They're talking about it everywhere. And to get Todd Frazier, Aaron Judge and the entire Yankees team to react to you, that's kind of a brilliant move. So, I think it's wonderful.
Dakota: I think it's wonderful, too. I like that the Yankees are embracing this. This is the most likable Yankees team of my lifetime, hands-down. This is a likable thing and they're great and more power to them because I think they're going to make some noise here in the postseason. It's going to be really great.
Gemma: Oh, absolutely. It's going to be a lot of fun. I hope thumbs down guy is there. They should invite him!
Dakota: Is there a more representative gesture -- well yes -- but is there a more representative G-rated gesture for the New York City area than the thumbs down gesture? No, there is not, and so I'm glad the Yankees have embraced it as their identity.
Gemma: I feel like we should just give that guy a column. Like, how did you feel this week about what happened in baseball? Thumbs down.
Dakota: We should give him a column. And it'll be really long and take 12 years to write and there will be like 15 different character arcs intertwining. I just started watching Game of Thrones.
Gemma: Yeah, Dakota just got into Game of Thrones, which is insane.
Dakota: I did, I did. And now I'm excited because I feel a part of the culture.