My locker is next to Les "Dutch" Fickner, who has been at the camp every year that I have been here. I don't know how long he has been coming, but he and his wife have shown up for the past three years to enjoy the week. One year, we were teammates.
On the first day of camp this year, he was playing first and a throw tipped off his glove and hit him in the eye – this was the result. But a small cut and a black eye didn't slow him down at all.
Before I talk about his baseball skills, I have to talk about the “chicken rule”. In Barry Bonds’ heyday, he was intentionally walked on a regular basis. Basically, if the walk wouldn’t move another player into scoring position, they walked him. Eventually, the Giants started selling rubber chickens at the stadium for fans to wave whenever Barry was intentionally walked, and they added a chicken to the outfield wall for every Giant who was intentionally walked, too.
So, at camp, we have the “chicken rule” to make sure that a team doesn’t intentionally walk your best hitter. Each team is given a rubber chicken that they can throw once per game after a batter is walked, and it means a pinch runner can take the batter’s place at first and the batter can stay in the batter’s box.
On our team, every time we threw the chicken, it was for Will Ferreira our amazing hitter.
Les' team threw the chicken for him. Black eye or not, Dutch can hit!