The saying goes that you can’t steal first base, but last week, Milwaukee Brewers’ shortstop Jean Segura found a way. The abridged version is, Jean Segura stole second, safely. Following a walk to Ryan Braun (leaving Braun on first and Segura on second), Segura tried to steal third, but got hung up. He dove back to second, where both he and Braun (who, as the trail runner, had correctly followed his lead) stood. Only one runner can occupy a base, so Braun was out. Segura, however, thought he was out and started to walk off the field. Upon realizing he was not yet out, he scampered all the way back to first base. In short, he went from first to second to halfway to third to second back to first. And it was called legal.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark has the exhaustive report on this whole mess, in three parts (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). Ultimately, the umpiring crew made the wrong call in allowing Segura to return to first base, as Stark has found. Fortunately, it was all moot anyway, because Segura got caught attempting to steal second base when he went back for more!