Friday, March 18, 2011

Here are some Scot Shields memories and thoughts from some of our staff of writers and contributors after one of the best setup men in the last decade retired from Baseball today.

Chuck Richter: Scot "The Rubber Arm" Shields was always a player the Angels could depend on in toward the back half of a close game. Just when you thought he was spent from pitching an inning or two the night before, Shields would take to the mound the very next day and give another solid inning + of stellar relief work. If Scioscia needed him to work 3-4 games in a row, Shields wouldn't waiver, neither would the results.

Scot Shields finished with a 3.18 ERA over 491 games played and played a significant role in the 2002 Championship club, as well as the Angels postseason appearances in '04, '05, '07, '08 and '09. I will always remember Scot's devastating fastball that moved in and out against left-handed batters, striking them out with the bat on their shoulders -- and that nasty breaking ball that generated awful whiffs against right-handed opponents.

So enjoy a nice time in retirement Scot, you definitely enjoyed a successful career while putting a smile on a lot of Angels' fans faces when you closed out the opposition when the game was on the line.

David Saltzer: It's hard to imagine an Angels' bullpen without Scot Shields in it. He was such an integral part of the bullpen for the past decade, that when he got the ball, it seemed like the game was locked down. There isn't any one memory or game that stands out in my mind about Scot Shields. What I will remember is his unselfish play, his consistency, his durability, and his rubber arm. Shields could have been a closer, and for many teams he would have been their closer, but he stayed with the Angels as one of the best setup men in the game. He was an unsung hero in the pen who helped the Angels dominate the decade. He was the bridge to the closer and it felt good to see him get the ball. Thank you Scot for all your work as an Angel.

Adam Dodge: We’ll miss Scot Shields. He illustrated that a skinny redneck with a beer belly and junk food diet could excel in a sport in which some of the World’s best athletes have failed.

Geoff Stoddart: When I was growing up and playing little league (before things got real PC and you could actually chant at the other team), there was a chant our team used to do. “Pitcher’s got a rubber arm!” It was never meant as a compliment. It wasn’t until I began to watch Scot Shields pitch that I became aware that it was actually a gift! The guy was absolutely amazing! He logged 697 innings pitched over his 10 year career with the Halos (433 of those between ’03-’06 alone). He was the Halos best set-up man in the last 10 years and, the argument could be made, maybe ever! Maybe the most special thing about him though is that he was the last remaining player from the 2002 World Series Championship team. I will miss Scot a lot, but will be reminded of him every day. You see, I live right off of South Shields road. So every time I pullout of my community, I will see the sign: S. Shields. Good luck Scot! Don’t be a stranger to the Halos organization and the fans!

Randy Lawrence: It’s hard to believe it’s time for Shieldsie to hang them up but after a couple of years struggling to get back to his old dominant form, it’s the right time. Scott will go down as one of the best set-up men in the league. We’ve had some pretty darn good closers in Percy and Rodriguez but having a guy like Shields to hold down the opposition and get the the closer made for one of the toughest bullies in innings 7-9 in all of baseball. Thanks for all the great memories Scot.

Sean Dodds: Scot Shields was one of the best bullpen pitchers of the last decade. He was consistent, durable and had downright nasty stuff. I usually felt pretty good when Scot came into a game with a lead. His pitches moved so much and it really seemed like batters had a hard time reading his pitches. He was pretty fun to watch. So thanks Scot for all the excellence and effort.

Bruce Nye: Scot spoiled us. He made us think our starting pitchers only needed six innings. He was the closest thing to "automatic" as there was. He set the table and tone for the closers. Without question, he was integral to the 2002 World Championship club.

Matt Markley: My family and I will miss Scot Shields very much.  He was and is a class act and a fine example for younger players to emulate.  And everything that came out of his hand was about as crooked as a dog's leg!

One memory of Scot that really stands out for me happened during ST some years back -- my then 3 y/o daughter was dangling a ball out of the stands after a game, cute as a little angel could ever want to be.  Players just walked past, one after another, as though she wasn't even there.  (Not that I blame them, mind you -- it was after a game on a hot AZ day)  Scot Shields not only stopped to sign her ball, but he stooped down and chatted with her for a while -- this little 3 y/o girl who could not have had too much to say.  Needless to say, from that day forward, Scot Shields has been her favorite player -- and thanks in part to him and other class acts like him, she's an Angels fan for life.  It's memories like this one that keeps me coming back, year after year -- regardless of the standings.  I love this organization like no other, and am proud as can be of the kind of people (like Scot) who seem to permeate it.  Quality people, quality ballclub -- does it get any better than this?! 

Thanks for the memories, Scotty!  Hope to see you in Angels red again some day!  
Love to hear what you think!

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