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Fanatics converts PA factory to manufacture, donate masks and gowns

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Michael Rubin, executive chairman of Fanatics, announced on Thursday that the company’s Pennsylvania factory will be converted from making official Major League Baseball jerseys into making masks and gowns. Those masks and gowns will be donated to help fight coronavirus (COVID-19). Fanatics manufactures and distributes official MLB uniforms as well as merchandise for fan consumption. It also operates MLB’s e-commerce, as well as that of many other major sports leagues.

In the full thread of tweets, Rubin says that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro each called him asking for help creating masks and gowns. MLB and Fanatics agreed to halt production of jerseys. With the help of approximately 100 associates, Fanatics plans to make one million masks and gowns to donate and distribute to hospitals and emergency personnel across the state of Pennsylvania with the goal of also extending into New Jersey and New York.

Based on the picture Rubin provided in his thread, it doesn’t appear that the masks being made form a seal around the nose and mouth, which the N95 respirators do. Additionally, the N95 respirators are made from polypropylene whereas MLB uniforms are made from polyester. Still, the additional masks and gowns from Fanatics should help and are certainly better than nothing.

It is also worth noting that Rubin and others were in a bit of hot water earlier in the week as he is also a co-owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. The two organizations wanted to cut their employees’ salaries by up to 20 percent. After significant public pressure, that decision was reversed.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.