5:03 PM ET
Major League Baseball players won’t be needing their uniforms for a while, so MLB and Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin have announced plans to use the fabric instead to make at least 1 million masks and hospital gowns to support health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rubin said the work has already begun and that the materials will be distributed to hospitals and emergency medical personnel throughout Pennsylvania, where the company’s manufacturing plant is, with a goal of expanding to New York and New Jersey
“The COVID-19 crisis has compelled our country to be more collaborative, innovative and strategic than ever before,” Rubin said in a statement. “As the demand for masks and gowns have surged, we’re fortunate to have teamed up with Major League Baseball to find a unique way to support our frontline workers in this fight to stem the virus, who are in dire need of essential resources.
We’re proud to partner with @MLB to support emergency personnel who are fighting against COVID-19 and face a need for masks and hospital gowns. We’re utilizing our manufacturing plant in Easton, PA to make masks and gowns out of the same jersey fabric that the players wear pic.twitter.com/5jEg1B2iUa
— Fanatics (@Fanatics) March 26, 2020
Fanatics is repurposing its factory in Easton, Pennsylvania, to help meet the demand for the masks and gowns. They will be created with the official fabric that Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees players wear on the field.
“We hope this effort can play a part in coming together as a community to help us through this challenging situation,” said Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred.
Rubin said in an interview with ESPN’s SportsCenter that he called Manfred on Monday morning with the idea.
“And Rob’s first question was, ‘This is amazing. How do you do this as quickly as possible?’ And I said, ‘Hey, are you worried about running out of materials for jerseys?’ He says, ‘Michael, let’s just focus on how do we make these masks and gowns as quickly as possible,'” Rubin said.
“So they were incredibly supportive. And we’re hoping we can make a million masks and gowns over the next two months, and hopefully it’ll make a small difference.”