By Makoto Yoshiike / Yomiuri Shimbun New York Bureau ChiefNEW YORK — The New York Yankees is a popular Major League Baseball team, for whom pitcher Masahiro Tanaka plays. The team failed to earn a spot in the World Series this year, but wowed fans by pushing the Houston Astros, who eventually won it all, to a deciding game in the American League Championship Series.
The Yankees were said to lack experience, with so many young players. Some said the team’s remarkable progress was symbolized by a thumbs-down gesture.
This gesture is normally used to boo players, but the Yankees triumphantly give the thumbs-down to their bench every time they got on base. Teammates gave the thumbs-down in response.
The Yankees are believed to have started doing the gesture after it was widely reported on TV that fans of opponents, out of hatred for the Yankees, booed with the thumbs-down gesture. Yankees players, for the fun of it, began to give the gesture whenever they got a chance in a game.
The Yankees’ thumbs-down gesture then spread among their fans. T-shirts featuring a thumbs-down design became a hot seller at the stadium.
Because expectations are always high for the prestigious team to be a juggernaut, there are many Yankee-haters who say they dislike no team but the Bronx Bombers.
However, the young team was successful in turning the thumbs-down gesture into a symbol of its unity, even by drawing from the boos.
Regarding a gesture with a finger as a way of expressing criticism or dissatisfaction, there has recently been a little incident involving U.S. President Donald Trump.
One weekend in October, a woman on a bike gave the finger to Trump’s motorcade when it was passing her on the way to a golf course near Washington.
A video shot at the scene by a cameraman accompanying Trump was distributed worldwide in an instant.
The woman, who flipped the bird — a gesture considered the most insulting to a person — recalled the incident, telling CNN and other media outlets that her action was spur of the moment because of her overly pent-up frustration toward the Trump administration.
She was fired by her company, which said her behavior was inappropriate.
We should recall that what Trump called for during the declaration of his victory immediately after the presidential election in November last year was unity among all American people — not only Republican supporters, but also Democratic supporters and those with no party affiliation. One year has passed since he stressed, “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division.” However, many people feel that, far from being healed, the wounds are ever-deepening and becoming bigger each day.
The middle finger the woman gave to Trump’s motorcade seems to be a “symbol of division” that reflects U.S. society. Social frustration in the United States is definitely growing against the inconsistency between the words and actions of Trump, who turns a deaf ear to boos directed at him, labeling them “fake news.”