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10/29/08 5:41 PM ET

An interview with James Shields

Rays pitcher talks about unique atmosphere of Game 5

Just a question about how you filled what I'm sure was a very unique and odd day yesterday: I believe there was an optional work out, did you work out and throw or did you do something as a team? How did you fill the day yesterday?

JAMES SHIELDS: I think there was a couple of guys that came in and showed up. Most of the guys just kind of hung out at the hotel and relaxed and just tried to keep our mind off this whole thing.

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I'm just curious, when you guys were able to tie the game in the sixth inning, what was the reaction on the bench as far as the fact that, No. 1, you now realized that you at least had gotten this to a suspended game? And No. 2, whether or not given the season you guys have had with all sorts of magic and crazy things that have happened with you guys to the betterment of your season, whether or not you felt this was another part of this destiny thing?

JAMES SHIELDS: I think the whole time when we were in the dugout we didn't really think about whether or not they were going to call the game, because the way that we were playing in that rain, you couldn't even see the baseball. You guys all saw that. We didn't even second guess whether or not, is the World Series going to end on a 2 1 game in the sixth inning. We were just playing the game. When Carlos hit that base hit and scored B.J., I mean, we were jumping up and down. Just to be able to tie the game right there in the sixth inning was huge for us, because all year long we've been known as the team that has come back in the seventh, eighth and ninth, and for us to tie it up there was huge for us.

Two questions: In the area you grew up there's such a rich tradition of pitching? Have you met any of the Major League pitchers that have come out of your area? And what's the competition like there?

JAMES SHIELDS: The only pitcher that come out of my area was Roger Salkeld and Andrew Lorraine. And I talked to Andrew a lot. I haven't talked to Roger at all. But I talked to Roger a lot when I was in high school. He came around and showed us some things. And I remember when I was in high school, I actually stepped in the box with Andrew pitching and the bullpen against me. That was pretty scary. But I've never seen a Major League pitcher when I was in high school.

The competition, it's good competition, you know. I like to go back home and think of myself as a Major League player now and it's all good.

One other quick thing: The people back home all say they remember you as Jamie, when did you from Jamie to James?

JAMES SHIELDS: When I was growing up, my uncle's name was Jamie, as well. And they always called me Little Jamie, all my uncles and aunts. And it was just one of those things where I just let everyone started calling me Jamie. I'm the type of guy that doesn't care about what I'm called or what anybody calls me. When I got to the big leagues they asked me what my name was. I said, my name is James Shields. And the next thing the newspapers are calling me James. I got a lot of smack from my family, but it's just part of the game.

What's it been like to have two extra days to think about a game that may or may not happen? And has your preparation changed at all?

JAMES SHIELDS: No, my preparation hasn't changed one bit. It just gives me a couple of days' extra rest to be able to pitch Game 6. That's what I'm doing right now. And this is a crazy time in our lives right now. From what I remember, I don't think any World Series has ended up like this.

So it's kind of crazy. We just have kind of been sitting back, just waiting like everybody else. We're anxious, we're ready to go. And we're going to try to get this thing back home. I'd kind of like to pitch one more time.

What's it like being in a situation where it's winner go home, all hands on deck, but your hands aren't available tonight?

JAMES SHIELDS: It's kind of interesting. I've never had a game where we have to play three innings to determine whether or not we're going to go home or play another game. It's kind of fun. We're in the clubhouse, I walked in the clubhouse today and everyone was kind of joking around about it. It's like a three inning war. And that's pretty much how we're going to take it.

It is what it is. We're anxious and ready to go right now.

With no travel day tomorrow, is there any consideration for having you head back to St. Pete today?

JAMES SHIELDS: I can't do that, man. I can't leave my team right now. I remember during the season we were in Boston, I think we played a game like at 11 o'clock at night. I was pitching a day game the next day, and I ended up going back to the hotel. It was 0 0, and the next thing I know, by the time I got to the hotel it was 6 0, Red Sox. And from then on out I told myself I'd never leave a game, no matter what time it is.

I can't leave my team. I want to support them on the bench. I want to root them on. And hopefully I get to pitch the next game.

Given all that you've done for the Rays this season, is there any part of you that sort of wanted to take the ball tonight and just be the guy that goes out there and tries to shut them down for as long as you can?

JAMES SHIELDS: I told Joe yesterday before we came here for the work out, I said, is there any chance that I'm going to be pitching in this game? I said, I have no problems with pitching a couple of innings. And he basically told me that I have a better chance of pinch hitting than I do of pitching (laughter).

I mean, you've got to save me for Game 6. The bullpen guys have been great all year long. Hopefully if it works out we'll get this thing done in three innings.

You mentioned your team was known for coming back in late innings. Obviously this is. You haven't played that well at the beginning of the games in the Series so far. How do you prepare yourself mentally as a team going into what could just be three and a half innings?

JAMES SHIELDS: This is it. This is what we dream of as little kids. It's come down to three innings. That's the way we're thinking about it right now. We're not thinking about Games 6 or 7, we're thinking about the next three innings, and being able to take this World Series back to Tampa. We've got to battle. We're ready to go. Everyone is in there relaxed, ready to go, and all smiles.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.