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Fischer had the machine functioning. A pitcher winding up flickered onto the screen. "Buzz, come in here," Fischer called into the clubhouse. Busby stepped into the room, looking worried. He is a handsome young man with a tanned, boyish face that would seem puckish save for an air of solemnity. If leading men ever come back, Busby has a future.
"Now watch this, Buzz," Fischer said, directing Busby's attention to the image on the screen. "See where you're breaking your hands? Too late, too late. And in the wrong position. They're not out in front of your body where they should be. They're off to the side and down too low. It's slowing your arm down. Your body is going forward while your arm is still going back. You're throwing off-balance. Your arm is rushing to catch up. That's why you're losing power and coming in high all the time."
Fischer smiled proudly. "You're right," said Busby, watching his tiny self on the screen. "It looks like a minor thing, but it's had major consequences. I guess I'm suffering from a kind of mental rustiness. It's back to fundamentals for me, back to learning what I learned in the Little Leagues. In all those months I wasn't pitching, I not only forgot some of my bad habits, I forgot good ones too."
"Sure, sure," said Fischer. "If you haven't pitched in two years, your memory fails. C'mon, let's go throw a few."
It was late afternoon, several hours before the game that night between Denver and Omaha, and the great stadium, in the fall the site of Broncomania, was empty. Tier upon tier of red, yellow, green, blue and orange seats rose up above the two men as they walked across the green turf in earnest conversation. Omaha Manager John Sullivan was waiting for them in the visitors' bullpen. "O.K., Buzz," he said, "let's have a look."
Catcher Art Kusnyer squatted behind the plate, and Busby, looking a little unsure about what was expected of him, stepped onto the mound. "Tell me if I'm doing it again," he said. He went into his motion and once again separated his right hand from his glove near his right hip. Fischer rushed forward. "Look, it's like you're a quarterback," he said, dropping back as if to pass, left arm bent in front of him. "You break your throwing hand away and keep the other one out front. You've developed a little swing there off to the side. Get those hands out in front of you. When your knee comes up, the hands go away."
Busby threw again. This time his hands broke at his chest. "That's too soon, isn't it?" he inquired. "Not much. Do it again," said Fischer.
Busby began to work smoothly now, his body moving rhythmically, his hands separating in front of him. He was throwing at three-quarter speed, but the ball was exploding in Kusnyer's mitt.
"That's it! That's it!" Fischer called out in encouragement.
Busby threw for 12 minutes, the pitches faster and more accurate near the end of the workout. He stopped, wiped his brow with his pitching hand—a feat he could not perform during much of 1976—and announced himself satisfied. "I think it's coming along," he said. And he trotted off to shag fly balls.