10/09/05 9:44 PM ET
Entire experience is humbling
Burke says he is especially happy for the Houston fans
It's hard to describe all of the emotions I have after today's win, but I'll try. I wasn't looking for a home run during my at-bat in the 18th. I was trying to get something going, maybe lay down a bunt, maybe try to steal a base. Once he [Braves reliever Joey Devine] threw me ball one, I thought he was going to come at me with a fastball. Ball two went by, and, obviously, I was in a good count. In those types of situations, you're looking for a pitch up and hopefully put a good swing on it. That's what happened.
I hit the ball and I remember putting my hand up in the air, like, I'm pretty sure that's gone. Then, I guess I took it down to give a high-five to [first base coach] Cheo [Cruz]. From there, I had a lot of emotions and a lot of things flowing through my mind.
My normal routine, when I hit a home run, is to keep my head down all the way. But you always pick up the third base coach when you're coming around third. You give them a high-five or a hand shake. When I came around third, and Manso's [third base coach Doug Mansolino] got two hands up and his eyes were as big as his face, that was the first time I said, 'Oh my gosh.'
I lifted my head up and saw the guys waiting for me, and three decks of fans on their feet. I was happy for a number of different reasons, but especially for the fans. They've been screaming their hearts out for six hours, so to give them an ending they came to see was nice.
This is weird, but I had consciously thought the previous half-inning that I can't believe they're still getting on their feet with two strikes and two outs. Rocket, he's pitching, and they're on their feet. Of course, there's nothing better than to bring in Rocket to keep a tired crowd going. The fans deserve a lot of credit for the effort they put into this, for sure.
I don't know the way other guys think about it, but for me, whether we're playing golf for fun, or playing baseball for a living, to have an opportunity to be in a big situation, to me, that's where the fun of the game lies.
There are other parts of the game that you can take a lot of pleasure in, whether it be defense or whatever the case might be. But for me, being up to bat with a chance to win the game is the ultimate -- regardless of the outcome, because we know it's such a hard game, and you're probably not going to succeed. But just to have that chance is something that I look forward to and something that I feel blessed to be in that spot.
My wife is here, and she and I had some moments last night that we'll always remember from the standpoint that we reflected a lot on how the season's gone. Today was just a very, very humbling moment.
This has been an emotional season for me, and to sum up today, I kind of have to go back to that old line: How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans. You just never know what the story's going to be, where you're going to end up. To get that hit in that setting was a huge thrill, and something I feel blessed to have done.
Chris Burke's postseason diary appears as told to Alyson Footer, a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.