|When Shane Spencer hits the ball, Finley turns his back to the
infield. He knows where the ball is going. He runs eighteen
steps before turning back toward the infield to catch a glimpse of the
In football, when a punter kicks the ball, you talk about "hang
time"--how long the ball stays in the air before a receiver can catch it
and start running down the field. Baseball people do not track the
hang time of fly balls, but they should. The hang times of fly
balls range from 4.3 second (a ball that lands fifty feet behind the
fielder after reaching a peak height of sixty-five feet) to 4.6 seconds
(a ball that reaches a height of seventy-five feet before landing in the
fielder's glove) to 5.0 seconds (a high pop-up that reaches a height of
100 fee before plopping in front of the fielder).
The hang time of this fly ball is probably somewhere around 4.4 or
4.5 seconds. From the time Spencer hits the ball to the time
Finley catches it, 4.5 seconds pass. Even though he needs to move
fast, Finley still has plenty of time to catch the ball if he does
Shortstop Tony Womack and second baseman Craig Counsell move to the
outfield for a relay play if Finley cannot catch up with the ball.
Ten fee from the outfield wall, Finley looks up and sees the ball
veering slightly toward right field. He twists his body, reaches
up with his glove in his right hand, and catches the ball. The
momentum of the run takes him another four steps into the padding of the
outfield wall. He pulls up just short of the fence, gently putting
both hands forward to hold the fence to break his stride.
When Finley runs, he glides. Other athletes chug-chug on the
field, but Finley's body is operating with all of his muscles and nerves
contributing to the body's movement. "I see people walking and
running and ask myself, 'Why does that not look fluid?'" says Edythe
Heus. "They're running almost as if they're dragging an extra
fifty pounds with them. It's such labor."
When the upper body uses all of its muscles--especially when the
micromuscles along the spine keep the length of the body loose and
aligned--the legs have less to do. They do not strain under the
weight of the torso.
"The human body is designed to work against gravity," Heus says.
"When Steve jumps up and reaches for the ball, it's like he stretches
his whole being. He's like an accordion. he has an ability
to anchor the lower part of his body, even when he's in the air, so that
he can twist the upper part of the body." Since his spine is
strong, he can leap with his lower body and turn with his upper body.
Finley is also ambidextrous, which gives superior quickness and range of
movement in all directions.
His whole-body, multi-sensory training gives Finley a strong sense of
where he is on the field, even when twisting and turning.
"Having to reach, to stretch--in a situation like that, because
you're running hard and looking back over your shoulders, a lot of
people would get disoriented," Finley says, "You're looking this side
you spin around. But what I love about our workout is that it
helps you, your body, know where it is in space at all times. You
watch figure skaters on ice, and they're holding somebody above their
head and going down the ice. And they'll make it look super easy.
Well, if somebody went out there and tried it, it's not going to work.
They're very aware of their body in space, and that's the same thing
this workout gives me. It makes me aware of my body in space, and
when I make those catches it might look easy. They're not that
easy. A lot of people couldn't do it."
Just as important as Finley's speed, quickness, and flexibility is
his ability to slow down. "You need really good eccentric powers,
which is braking and slowing down," says Heus. "You're not going
to drive a car eighty miles and hour if you have brakes that don't work.
you need to explode, run, stop, and explode in the he opposite
Finley's catch sets the tone for the early part of the game.
The catch gives Schilling a break, arouses the Phoenix crowd, and of
course prevents a run-scoring threat.
"I hit that right on the sweet spot," Spencer says, shaking his head.
"Line drive up the middle. I had good backspin on it, and it just
kept carrying. if it gets over his head, it's a for-sure double
and maybe even a triple. And I have a chance, because he doesn't
play real deep. And you know, I'm always coming hard out of the
box. And I was feeling pretty good. So that was a double or
triple, and that's probably a difference in the game, right there."
Finley speed and dexterity--and the agelessness he has won by using
the training regimen of Edythe Heus--have robbed the Yankees' hopes for