Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t steal first base. Brewers’ shortstop Jean Segura did it last night against the Cubs. Hang with me for a second.
It all started after Segura reached on an infield single to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. After he successfully stole second base, Ryan Braun reached on a walk. Segura then got caught in a rundown between second and third base and eventually dove back into second base, where he was met by Braun, who attempted to advance on the play. While Braun was called out because he was the trail runner, Segura assumed he was also out and began to run off the field. However, once he realized that he wasn’t out, he scampered back to first base. Yes, he went backwards.
Just to put a nice bow on the bizarre sequence of events, Segura was eventually thrown out trying to steal second base for the second time in the inning. I mean, could it really end any other way? Check it out below.
While it looks like second base umpire Phil Cuzzi missed that Segura was tagged by Luis Valbuena before he went back to first base, a runner is technically allowed to advance in the opposite direction. According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, the only exceptions are if a baserunner does so “for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game.”
The rule was initiated after Germany Schaefer retreated to first base on August 4, 1911 in an attempt to distract the defense and allow the winning run to score from third. It didn’t work and he was eventually thrown out trying to steal second, much like Segura. Appropriately enough, Schaefer played with the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association as a prospect and with the Cubs in the majors. You can find an interesting profile on Schaefer on SABR.org.