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Big League Stew

Chinese baserunner commits embarrassing blunder during WBC loss

Big League Stew

There was a whole lot of beatdown handed to China in its early Monday morning World Baseball Classic game against Cuba. Team China lost 12-0, enacting the tournament's mercy rule and getting pummeled with a six-run fifth inning that included a grand slam by Jose Abreu.

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But the embarrassment started for China in the second inning, when this happened: Fujia Chu stole second, free and clear. There wasn't even a throw from the catcher, who dropped the ball while hopping out of his crouch. The base was Chu's, but then he started — to everyone's surprise — trotting back to first base. What?!? Noooooo. Trapped in a rundown, Chu was tagged out and will now be known as "The Guy Who Stole Second But Gave It Back."

If you need an explanation, one of two things happened here:

• Those sly Cubans somehow convinced Chu that it was a foul ball and he needed to return to first base. That's what the announcers initially thought. But, that's not likely considering the language barrier. Unless the Cubans learned Mandarin for just such an opportunity, which would be both dastardly and genius.

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• Chu thought it was a foul ball and ran back to first base in earnest. That's so honest and naive, your mom just wants to give him a packet of fruit snacks and pinch his cheeks. Let this be a lesson to Chu: Stand on that base until an umpire drags you away.

This is the World Baseball Classic, kid, this is serious business. Just ask the 3,000 people at the game.

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