Fanatics, MLB Stop Jersey Production to Make Medical Gear Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

With the 2020 baseball season being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fanatics is doing its part to help the healthcare workers. With the help of Major League Baseball (MLB), Fanatics has stopped its production of baseball jerseys to make medial gear such as protective masks and gowns for hospitals in Pennsylvania and nearby states.

Fanatics founder and executive chairman Michael Rubin came up with the idea of turning his facility in Easton, Pennsylvania into a factory to help fight against coronavirus last week when he was watching TV. According to ESPN, St. Luke's hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania contracted fanatics about possibly making masks. Rubin was also contracted by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro and told him the state was in "dire need" of more medical gear. By Tuesday, Fanatics stopped all production of baseball jerseys to focus on getting masks and gowns to the hospitals. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gave Rubin permission to pivot to hospital gear.

"'We've got a million yards of fabric that we make these baseball uniforms from -- what would you think if we take that fabric and make masks and gowns?'" Rubin told The Associated Press what he said to Manfred. "He immediately said, 'Great. I want to do it immediately. The most important thing is we've got to help the heroes on the front line, and baseball can help play a role in it.'"

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Rubin said his goal is to make 15,000 masks and gowns a day. Fanatics is making Level 1 masks, used for low-risk, nonsurgical procedures. Rubin said it would coast Fanatics $3 million and they would make 1 million over the next few months.

With the U.S. having the most confirmed cases of COVID-19, it's not known when baseball will return. However, the players and league agreed the season won't start until there are no bans on mass gatherings, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not be a risk to health for teams and fans.