Factory Switches From MLB Uniforms to Masks

Fanatics could turn out a million products to help health care workers
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2020 7:18 PM CDT
Factory Switches From MLB Uniforms to Masks
A patch honoring Armed Forces Day is worn on the uniform of New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks last May.   (AP Photo/Jim McIsaac)

Health care workers will soon be wearing the pinstripes usually seen on New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies. A Pennsylvania factory that usually makes uniforms for Major League Baseball teams has been converted to produce masks and gowns needed during the pandemic, the New York Times reports. The new Fanatics products will be made of the same fabric used for ballplayers. "We're just taking it and making the masks and gowns that can be used by the people who are working to save lives every day," said Michael Rubin, the company's chairman. The company designed the masks with the help of a nearby hospital system, and it plans to make about a million of them, per CNBC.

The polyester mesh masks will give medical workers only basic protection, Rubin said—they're not surgical grade. MLB is paying the company's costs. The factory was shut last week as a nonessential business, and with the baseball season on hold, anyway, but geared back up quickly. The company hopes to begin sending out masks in a couple of days. "There is incredible pride for our 7,000 employees to be able to do our small part to help the heroes that are on the front lines to save lives every day," Rubin said. "It’s amazing how quickly something can go from an idea to production when it’s needed." (More coronavirus stories.)

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