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Broad support for the Yankees in ALDS, from Mariano Rivera to ‘Thumb-Down Guy’

To gauge how wide support is for the Yankees now that they're playing for the American League pennant for the first time in seven years, PIX11 News consulted one of the greatest players to ever wear pinstripes, and also interviewed someone who's gained wild popularity for his hatred of the Bronx Bombers.

Both are boosters of the Boys In Blue for the ALCS, but for very different reasons.

"Those guys have done a tremendous job," said Mariano Rivera, the greatest closing pitcher in the history of the Yankees franchise, and possibly in the history of the pastime of baseball. "They did it with class," he said about the Bombers' victory in the American League Division Series against the top-ranked Cleveland Indians.

The Yankees had been down 2 games to 0 against Cleveland, but mounted a steady comeback to win the series 3-2 on Wednesday.

Now, as they face game one in Houston against the Astros, Rivera said, "I don't think it'll be any different with Houston. We have to believe that we can do it, and this will happen."

Also wanting a win for the Yankees is Gary Dunaier. If his name sounds unfamiliar, it may be because he's best known by his nickname: Thumbs-Down Guy. He famously made a thumb-down gesture against the Yankees when their heroics made them winners against the Tampa Bay Rays in a make-up game last month.

The game was played in a neutral ballpark because Hurricane Irma had kept the Rays out of their home stadium. The stadium chosen was Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, who were away.

Dunaier, a Mets season ticket holder, told PIX11 News he had been at the game because he thought it would be interesting to be at the first Major League Baseball game to take place at Citi Field that didn't involve the Mets.

"I was surrounded by Yankee fans," Dunaier told PIX11 News, and because of all of the noise the Yankees fans were making, "I knew nobody would hear me if I booed," he continued. "So I held my thumb down."

The move went viral.

"I've become a meme," Dunaier told PIX11 News. In addition, his thumb down is now associated with any big plays that the Yankees make, as the team has adopted it as their own gesture of approval for major developments in every game since Dunaier first immortalized the thickest digit of his left hand.

In addition to becoming a meme, he's also become a Yankees fan, albeit temporarily, in part because of the fame he's gained in association with the team, but also because the Bombers' run is good baseball.