Maybin visits Detroit for Players Alliance tour

Detroit Tigers

Cameron Maybin is a three-time former Tiger, most recently before being traded to the Cubs at the end of August, but the free-agent outfielder still has a place in his heart for Michigan. So when The Players Alliance brings its Pull-Up Neighbor Tour to Detroit and Flint on Friday, Maybin

Cameron Maybin is a three-time former Tiger, most recently before being traded to the Cubs at the end of August, but the free-agent outfielder still has a place in his heart for Michigan. So when The Players Alliance brings its Pull-Up Neighbor Tour to Detroit and Flint on Friday, Maybin and his wife will be tagging along, helping distribute not only baseball equipment, but COVID-19 protection items like face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies, and food to people and families in need.

The Detroit stop will be Friday, Dec. 11, at The Corner Ballpark, the old Tiger Stadium site, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. ET. The Flint stop will take place at the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village from 10 a.m. to noon.

Tigers general manager Al Avila will also be at the Detroit stop along with Tigers reliever John Schreiber, new Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter, Nationals pitching prospect Sterling Sharp and Angels draft pick Werner Blakely Jr.

“We’re going to do everything that we can to give back,” Maybin said. “They’ve given me so much. They created an opportunity for me to change my family’s life, so the people in Detroit, I love them, and I’m going to do everything I can to help.”

The tour was a product of the players’ efforts this past summer in the wake of the George Floyd protests and players’ decisions to sit out games around Jackie Robinson Day in late August to create awareness and conversation about racial injustice. Many players donated their salaries from that game towards The Players Alliance, a partnership that includes 143 current and former players, to help create an inclusive culture in baseball and the greater communities. Former Tigers All-Star Curtis Granderson serves as the alliance president, while fellow ex-Tiger Edwin Jackson is the secretary. Joining Maybin on the MLB player committee are current Tigers Daz Cameron, Travis Demeritte, Niko Goodrum and Christin Stewart.

Out of that effort came this tour, seeking to not only address the limited opportunities for baseball in cities, but the larger issues facing many communities of color. The tour began last week in New York and will visit more than 30 cities by late January.

“Those salaries donated went to this tour,” Maybin said. “So we had, I think, over a million dollars in salary donated. I’m so thankful for MLB donating over a million dollars worth of equipment, because that’s one of the biggest things that you see in these communities, [that] baseball is extremely expensive. It’s a lot easier to just grab a basketball, go find a hoop on the corner, get a football and the equipment is always supplied by the Little Leagues. But it’s hard to get a baseball bat, a glove, spikes, so many things that you need.

“Being able to provide equipment is huge, but the essentials as well. Right now, during a pandemic, COVID essentials are extremely important. Making sure that they have what they need during this pandemic is also extremely important. We realize that at the end of the day, we’re our best asset. We can have a fund run, have a million dollars dumped into it, but if we’re not actually there in our communities trying to make change, it’ll never happen.”

With a teenage son, Maybin has seen the impact and expense of travel ball. He hopes that this effort helps create opportunities for more kids to play.

As for Maybin’s own situation, he said he has received five or six calls from teams with potential interest and is currently waiting on potential contract offers. When asked if there was any chance of a fourth Tigers stint, Maybin smiled.

“Well, you know Al knows my number,” Maybin said. “I’m always a phone call away.”

Maybin already has experience playing for new manager A.J. Hinch, having been part of the 2017 World Series champion Astros.

“A.J. is one of the smartest baseball people I’ve ever been around,” Maybin said. “He really understands the game. He seems to always be ahead of the game. He’s an extremely bright guy, and he’s a guy that players enjoy playing for. He’s easy to want to go out and play hard for. You want to make A.J. look good. He’s that type of guy.”

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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