As Easy as Stealing Candy From a Baby

Matt Sewell was an important player for the Trumbull (Conn.) team that won the 1989 Little League World Series. But evidently, Little League President Creighton Hale will be the judge of that.

Last Christmas, as part of its 50th anniversary commemoration, Little League headquarters in Williamsport, Pa., sent gift packages to the Trumbull boys. Inside were the uniforms they wore in the final game of the Series last August.

Matt, 13, who was batting .500 in the playoffs but broke his wrist delivering papers before the World Series, didn't get one.

"It stinks," he told Greg Garber of the Hartford Courant.

In December, Tom Galla, Trumbull's manager, began arguing in Matt's behalf with Little League officials. Last week, president Hale turned him down for the last time.

Add uniform: Matt was replaced by an alternate and, under Williamsport's rules, was not allowed to sit on the bench during games, or to eat or travel with the team.

Last fall, however, when the team visited President Bush at the White House, Matt was permitted to wear a World Series uniform.

"How can you give a boy a uniform to wear at the White House and then not give him one to keep?" Manager Galla asked. "How can they sleep at night?"

Last add uniform: Steve Keener, a Little League spokesman, said originally there were 20 of the uniforms. Besides the 14 shipped to Trumbull, he said, one hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., another in the Little League museum in Williamsport.

Said Galla: "That leaves three or four that are gathering dust."

Said Keener: "The youngster didn't play. Rules are rules."

Trivia time: Before divisional play began in 1969, which major league pennant winner held the record for fewest days in first place during a season?

Communications whiz: From Hal Bock of the Associated Press: "During the 1981 World Series, in an overcrowded Yankee Stadium press room where newsmen stepped gingerly over each other's wires and cables, (Howard) Spira nearly caused a riot by knocking out the computer plug of a nationally known baseball columnist.

"He was always around, often viewed almost as an annoyance by beat writers struggling for interviewing space. He would never be deterred, persistent in selling his taped interviews, wearing down radio editors until they agreed to use his material."

Lost in the scramble: In the recent Bank of Boston Classic, no fewer than six golfers were disqualified in the first two rounds.

Don Pooley and Dan Forsman distinguished themselves from the other four. In the first round, they inadvertently played one another's ball for three holes.

Speed limit 97 m.p.h.: According to United Press International, officials in Brazoria County and Harris County, Texas, are making plans to rename Texas Highway 288 the Nolan Ryan Expressway.

Stroke of genius: On this day in 1852, America's first intercollegiate athletic competition, a rowing race between Harvard and Yale, was held on Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H. On a two-mile course, Harvard won by four boat lengths.

Trivia answer: The 1951 New York Giants, three days.

Dog and pony exacta: This Saturday and Sunday at Hollywood Park, the Kennel Club of Los Angeles will stage California's first European format dog show.

Patrons of Hollypark's satellite wagering from Del Mar are cautioned not to confuse the two.

For the record: An item in Thursday's Morning Briefing reported that a New York Daily News cartoon included a Yankee logo turned into a swastika. The logo was in fact turned into a Maltese Cross.

Quotebook: Jim Bouton, author and former New York Yankee pitcher, on George Steinbrenner: "I think his being kicked out of baseball is really bad for American business and human relations because we have now lost a symbol of how not to do things."

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