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MLB jersey manufacturer suspends production to make masks and gowns for hospitals

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A company that manufactures jerseys for Major League Baseball will shift its production to masks and gowns for health care workers as the nation and Pennsylvania battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Fanatics co-founder Michael Rubin – also a part-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils – said in a Twitter thread Thursday that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he needed Rubin’s help getting equipment to frontline health care workers.

Posting a picture of a worker at the company’s Easton, Pa., facility in a jersey-gown with Philadelphia Phillies pinstripes, he said the company has 100 employees working on the masks and gowns, made from fabric that would’ve been used for MLB jerseys.

They’re keeping extra distance from each other as they work, at the 360,000-square-foot Easton plant. The goal is to produce 1 million masks and gowns and then donate them to hospitals and emergency management personnel.

The first line of production is from fabric that would have been Phillies and Yankees apparel.

For now, they will be distributed in Pennsylvania, but the company hopes to later send them to New York and New Jersey – which are No. 1 and No. 2 in the country for confirmed cases of the virus, respectively.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was briefed on the plan and approved it. The league and Fanatics will absorb all costs of production, a company spokesman said.

There are 6,876 confirmed cases of the virus in New Jersey and 1,687 confirmed coronavirus cases in Pennsylvania.

Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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