Impressive, but It’s Not Rocket Science

Times Staff Writer

Not since Phil Conley won the NCAA title in 1956 and went on to compete at the Melbourne Olympics has Caltech had a javelin thrower the caliber of Kristen Zortman.

She will compete today in the NCAA Division III national championships at Waverly, Iowa, becoming the first Caltech undergraduate to compete in an NCAA meet in nearly a decade.

Another thing that sets Zortman apart is that she plans to become a rocket scientist and hopes to land a job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge.

She can already really launch a javelin.


Trivia time: Jeff Kent and Cesar Izturis have a chance to be voted in as the starting double-play combination at second base and shortstop for the National League at the All-Star game. When was the last time that happened for a pair of Dodgers?

Mood music: Arguing a couple of calls led to Arcadia High baseball Coach Sean McCorry’s being ejected from a game against Crescenta Valley. Arcadia then had to forfeit a playoff win over Villa Park because McCorry, who was banned from the game after the ejection, watched it while sitting behind the right-field fence.

Maybe Arcadia needed someone like Wilbur Snapp to take the heat. Snapp, who died in 2003, is thought to be the only organist ever ejected from a baseball game. At a minor league game in Clearwater, Fla., in 1985, Snapp, after witnessing a debatable call, played “Three Blind Mice.”

Round on the mound: When the Chicago White Sox were in Anaheim earlier this week and the starting pitchers were left-hander Mark Buehrle of the White Sox and rotund right-hander Bartolo Colon of the Angels, Elliott Harris in the Chicago Sun-Times described the matchup as “Buehrle against burlier.”


No blurred vision: The USC baseball team played a three-game series against Oregon State at Corvallis last weekend. Brooks Hatch of the Corvallis Gazette-Times, noting that the Trojans have a pitcher named Josh Fogel and the Beavers have a pitcher named Nate Fogle, referred to the pair as “Bi-Fogles.”

Bud Light wouldn’t do: Jimmy Golen of Associated Press, on how former major league pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, now attempting a comeback with the minor league Brockton (Mass.) Rox, got his nickname: “Oil can was slang for beer in Boyd’s Mississippi, where he liked to lift his weights 12 ounces at a time.”

Looking back: On this day in 1946, the Washington Senators beat the New York Yankees, 2-1, in the first night game at Yankee Stadium.

Trivia answer: 1980, when the game was played at Dodger Stadium and second baseman Davey Lopes and shortstop Bill Russell were in the lineup.

And finally: Ross Porter, filling in for Fred Roggin on KMPC (1540) radio Friday, asked guest Vin Scully how much longer he plans to continue broadcasting. Scully repeated what he has said before: “If you want to make God smile, tell him your plans.”


Larry Stewart can be reached at