Former FSU star Tony Thomas makes pro baseball history, steals first base!

Home plate umpire Brian deBrauwere left wearing an earpiece during the first inning of the Atlantic League All Star Game last Wednesday in York Pennsylvania

Home plate umpire Brian deBrauwere left wearing an earpiece during the first inning of the Atlantic League All Star Game last Wednesday in York Pennsylvania

A batter in the Atlantic League became the first-ever professional baseball player to steal first base Saturday.

Thomas will now be known as the first player in "baseball history" to steal first under these new rules, and the Blue Crabs organization took to twitter to share the moment with fans.

During a game between the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and the Lancaster Barnstormers, Tony Thomas, 33, was at bat in the bottom of the 6th inning when an errant pitch bounced behind the catcher and toward the backstop. It was an expansion of the dropped third strike rule which allows batters to reach first when a called third strike is dropped behind the plate. The play is most similar to a Strike 3 that gets away from the catcher, so should it just be a batter-runner advancing on a wild pitch/passed ball? "I tried to find a way to get my team on base, and the opportunity presented itself".

He continued, "In the process of looking back to see where the ball went, I actually saw [the catcher] Anderson sticking his hand up to the umpire for the ball because it's [usually an] automatic passed ball".

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Thomas would end up scoring later in the inning to give the Blue Crabs a 1-0 advantage en route to a victory. As a junior in 2007, he became the first Seminole to register 30 doubles, 100 hits and 30 stolen bases in a single season.

Anyway, that's now a thing in the Atlantic League, which is also experimenting with strike zone technology (aka "robot umps"), new rules for pickoff attempts, a free foul ball on a bunt attempt with two strikes and a few other tweaks in its role as a laboratory for MLB.

So when will this rule be brought over to Major League Baseball and how exactly does it factor into on-base percentage? "And that's what we're doing", said Manfred.

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