This image, provided by Fanatics, shows a model wearing a...

This image, provided by Fanatics, shows a model wearing a protective mask and gown for medical professionals made from the fabric of a baseball uniform. Credit: AP/Fanatics

The company that makes uniforms for Major League Baseball announced on Thursday – the day that would have been Opening Day – that it is instead using those fabrics to make masks and hospital gowns to help with the coronavirus pandemic.

Fanatics, which is based in Easton, Pennsylvania, had been shuttered by commonwealth authorities as part of Pennsylvania’s non-essential workplace ban. But company executive chairman Michael Rubin said the 360,000-square foot plant has been reopened to create up to one million masks and gowns for healthcare workers.

The masks and gowns are initially being made from textiles that were going to be used to create uniforms for the Yankees and Phillies. So the finished products will feature pinstripes – blue from the Yankees’ material and red from the Phillies’.

Patterns that had been earmarked for other teams’ uniforms will be used in the future as production grows.

“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 has 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.”

Distribution of the masks and gowns has begun in Pennsylvania and will be extended to New Jersey and New York, the company said. Major League Baseball and Fanatics will share the cost.

“We hope this effort can play a part in coming together as a community to help us through this challenging situation,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “I’m proud that Major League Baseball can partner with Fanatics to help support the brave healthcare workers and emergency personnel who are on the front lines of helping patients with COVID-19. They are truly heroes.”

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