Cameron Maybin is well aware of what kind of team it takes to win a World Series.
The veteran outfielder won a ring with the Astros in 2017 and now is chasing another with the Yankees, a group that has “just as much talent” as his old Houston crew, he said, plus another key ingredient.
“The biggest thing is not only the talent, but just how guys genuinely care about each other,” Maybin said late Monday night as the party inside the Yankees clubhouse wound down following a 5-1 win over the Twins at Target Field that completed an ALDS sweep. “Guys every day coming in here, whether it’s on the field or off the field, checking on each other, caring about what’s going on in each other’s lives. I think that’s what makes it special, the bond off the field and it carries over on the field.
“It’s a brotherhood here, it’s not just a group of guys. I think every day, guys are excited to show up to the field and play together and try to accomplish something special. This is a special group.”
How far that bond takes the Yankees remains to be seen, but they are now eight wins away from a title. Standing in the way could be Maybin’s former team, as the Astros looked to clinch their ALDS against the Rays on Tuesday night.
“We’ve been up for all the challenges all year,” Maybin said. “We believe in everything we have in here.”
Maybin got in on the fun Monday night. After coming on as a defensive replacement for Giancarlo Stanton in left field for the third straight game, Maybin popped a solo home run in the ninth inning to push the Yankees’ lead to 4-1. The ball had an expected batting average of .160, but on a night when everything was coming up Yankees, Maybin was happy to see it land just beyond the left-field wall.
“I like to think of myself as more than just a defensive replacement,” said Maybin, whose mom made the trip to watch him play for the first time this year after battling breast cancer. “I’ve had the opportunity to have some amazing hitting coaches this year in Marcus [Thames] and P.J. [Piliterre], trusting in me and believing in my work. Just a big swing right there for the team.”
Maybin played in six playoff games for the 2017 Astros — twice as a pinch hitter, twice as a pinch runner and once as a defensive replacement, in addition to one start, which came against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS. Now, a potential ALCS rematch awaits with Maybin fully integrated on the other side.
“Just one step closer to our main goal, and that’s trying to win a World Series,” Maybin said. “We got some unfinished business, but [Monday] was huge.”