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WHAT IT FEELS LIKE . . . . . . to hit a walk-off home run, in the words off Ryan Zimmerman

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Sunday, June 24, 2007; 10:47 PM

A year ago this past week, Washington Nationals rookie third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run, walk-off home run to beat the New York Yankees at RFK Stadium -- arguably the signature moment thus far for the 2 1/2 -year-old Nationals franchise. Then, he did it again on July 4 against the Florida Marlins. Finally, this May 12, Zimmerman hit a ninth-inning grand slam to beat the Marlins again -- his third walk-off homer in less than 11 months.

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When it happens, you really don't know what to do. When you're running around the bases, you're not really thinking about anything, because everything's so crazy, so loud. But it's also quiet for you. It's a weird feeling. It's not really a time when you can think.

Like the one against the Yankees -- I had my fist in the air. I was halfway between first and second and then realized I had my arm up there, and I pulled it down right away. You're not conscious of anything that's really going on.

When you come around third and you see all your teammates [at home plate], that's the coolest part, because everybody's so happy and so excited that you won the game, and to have the guys that come out and work every day -- to be able to win for all those guys is so cool.

[The helmet flip] is for the purpose of not getting hit in the head. But now, everyone just punches you in the stomach. It's getting dangerous. You've got to fight back. You've got to beat your way out of that pile.

-- Interview by Barry Svrluga


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