Todd Frazier’s signing with the Mets is a double-digit deal.
The Mets’ new third baseman, signed to a two-year deal pending a physical, will be reunited with Mets fan Gary Dunaier, aka “Thumbs Down Guy,” whose gesture was parlayed by Frazier into a rallying cry for the 2017 Yankees.
“It’s a whole new chapter in the wonderful world of thumbs down,’’ Dunaier, a season-ticket holder, said Tuesday from Manhattan Criminal Court, where he is a court office assistant. He intends to invite Frazier out to dinner to show him around Queens. “I think it’s great that Todd Frazier is going to be playing with the Mets and I’m certainly looking forward to him motivating his new teammates like he did last year.’’
That Frazier is staying in New York is also good news for Dunaier’s branding. He has a bobblehead of his likeness coming out soon. Phil Sklar, co-founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee, said 250 of the 500 in the initial order have been sold at $25 apiece.
“I’m not getting the full 25 dollars, I’m just getting a percentage of that,’’ Dunaier said. “I think they’re well worth the 25 dollars.
“I’m not going to lie. I would not mind making some money off of this. Certainly, the Yankees made money with the thumbs down T-shirts . . . I’m the guy who started it. Why shouldn’t I make money as well? I’m a regular guy with a regular 9-to-5 job. ‘’
Dunaier, 54, unwittingly became an overnight sensation last Sept. 11 when he attended a Yankees-Rays game that was played at Citi Field because of the effects of Hurricane Irma in Tampa, Florida. Frazier hit a three-run homer and the suspender-wearing, full-bearded Dunaier, an anti-Yankees fan, showed his displeasure by making a thumbs down sign that was captured on television by the YES cameras.
Aaron Judge told Frazier about it, and the fuse was lit. Frazier flashed thumbs down every time he or a teammate did something positive.
“Gary became, let’s say viral or famous, if I may, because of something no one else ever did,’’ said Chris Gallo, a court officer who works with Dunaier and is helping with his business ventures.
“Gary got his notoriety for doing something that nobody else ever did — basically just a display of his disapproval. I know this morning Noah Syndergaard sent out a tweet of a thumbs down icon. When Frazier gets a hit and he looks up at the section where Gary’s sitting and flashes a thumbs up or thumbs down, the fans are going to embrace it. If it’s a thumbs down, great, we continue to move with Thumbs Down Guy. If he flips the thumb and he makes it a thumbs up, maybe it’s a take back the thumb campaign and now he’s Thumbs Up Guy. I don’t know how it’s going to unfold.’’
Frazier would need binoculars to see Dunaier, a season-ticket holder, in Section 538, located in the upper deck in left-centerfield. “Do I think the Mets will give me an upgrade? I don’t know, I’m not even thinking about it,’’ Dunaier said. “If they do, it’s nice, if not, I’m happy with the seats that I have.’’
The Mets were not saying what they may have in store for Dunaier. Maybe he’ll have a seat at Frazier’s introductory news conference before spring training.