10/13/05 7:08 PM ET
Chris Burke pregame interview
Rookie talks about his postseason production
By / MLB.com
CHRIS BURKE: Yeah, I'd say probably nobody is more surprised than I am. At the same time, you know, I've been in favorable counts and I've got good pitches. I think every player, especially at this level expects themselves to do something when they get a good pitch to hit and luckily for me they have gone out of the park.
Were you at all surprised that you were inserted into the starting lineup today?
BURKE: Well, that's kind of the way Phil worked the lineup the last couple of weeks in the season that I was playing against left handers. I was hoping to be in the lineup today and glad when I saw my name in there.
What was your mindset going in in the 18th inning the other day and again yesterday?
BURKE: Well, you know, to be honest, I had been in the game I guess going on eight innings the other day. It didn't really feel like I had been in there, it was my third at-bat and I had flown out and walked. I got into the rhythm of the game a little bit. Whereas yesterday, obviously a pinch hit situation.
My numbers were actually horrible in the season during pinch hit situations but right at the end of the season I started to have a couple of good at bats and that's carried over. I felt comfortable always pinch hitting but I have not had much success. Yesterday I got a 2-0 count, and like I say, got a good pitch to hit.
Do you almost feel pressure now that you have to do this all the time?
BURKE: Yeah, now I've got four at-bats, so -- no, it's one of those things where fortunately I've faced Mulder before so I at least know what he looks like. I'm just hoping to do something to help us win today and we're all hoping to get back on track today with a win and hopefully we can get Roy some runs and that will be good enough.
BURKE: It was crazy, I got a thousand phone calls, literally probably somewhere in the hundreds of phone calls and messages and text messages, but it's been a lot of fun, catching up with some old friends and just being able to hear support from friends and family back home and not only that, but people in Houston, it's been fun.
Have you been taking a lot of ribbing from teammates and stuff like that?
BURKE: Yeah, definitely. You know, Rocket asked me when I was doing Letterman, just all good hearted stuff. But it's been fun. We have a pretty loose clubhouse. You'd better be able to take some ribbing or you probably won't have much fun in our clubhouse. Everybody jokes and laughs and this type of opportunity is a great spot for guys to give a lot of good hearted ribbing.
I guess Roger was doing an interview after the game and he didn't want to talk about what he did and said, you know, "You should talk to Chris about what he did because he really won the game." That must make you feel good, coming from a guy like Clemens?
BURKE: Yeah, that's how Roger is. He's all about the team and he's very much willing to deflect attention away from himself.
He knows his place, he's very comfortable with what he's done and I don't think that what he did Sunday surprised any of his teammates but I've definitely heard a lot of positive feedback from people I've spoken with about what that showed him and if everybody wasn't a fan of his already, he gained a lot more I would say.
Some of the guys were talking yesterday about how you love pressure situations, you thrive on that; is that the case, do you look at it that way?
BURKE: Well, I don't want to make too much about some of these comments that have been made lately. My personal opinion on any game or any sport is that the most fun is when it comes down to a certain play, whether it be you and I are bowling or playing golf or shooting hoops or whatever it is. I just feel like that's the fun part of any game.
So I think I've expressed that quite a few times to some of my teammates, so I guess that's kind of, you know, where they are coming up with that. At the same time, you know, baseball obviously is my job, so people kind of would expect me maybe to think differently that way. But it's the same way, you get a chance to win a game or come up with a big spot. To me, that's where the fun of the game lies.
What's it like being a young guy on this team with so many veterans to learn from and how are you dealing with all of the new attention that you're getting?
BURKE: Well, being a young guy on this team has been great. There's so many guys to look up to and learn from, not only on the field but off the field. And they are very accepting of young players and they will do anything to help you, so that's been fun.
As far as the new attention is concerned, you know, it's been a little foreign to me, but at the same time, like I said, there's guys in our clubhouse that are so good at handling the media that you can't help but to learn from them.
Related to that, obviously you want to win the series and go to the World Series because you're a baseball player, but for the older guys, for Bagwell and Biggio, how big is it, this may be their last chance, to send them out as winners?
BURKE: Yeah, big. I mean, those guys have put their heart and souls into this game and to this organization, so I think a lot of guys have that on their minds when we are out there playing. At the same time for any of us, whether you're in my situation or Rocket's situation, you never know when you're going to get a shot to be this close and be on a team like this.
So we're all going to go out there and play as hard as we can and hopefully we get a chance to make it to the World Series and hopefully win the whole thing.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.