Someone stole the column but threw back the picks

September 07, 2000

Someone stole the column but threw back the picks

Editor's note: We regret to inform our readers that this week's column by Big Sydney, our football prognosticator for the last 30 years, was apparently stolen.

As some of you are aware, the Big Sydney column is submitted to us by an unknown resident of Dargan. The column and picks are left on the doorstep of The Herald-Mail offices sealed in a mayonnaise jar. When we checked for this week's column at the designated time, we found only a pile of shattered glass and a "Hellman's" lid.

The proper authorities were immediately dispatched to the scene. All Herald-Mail employees still on the premises were questioned, but no leads were found.

The authorities has assured The Herald-Mail that the parties responsible - who can only be categorized as menaces to society - will be apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Some local attorneys have already offered to represent The Herald-Mail in these possible proceedings free of charge, obviously hoping to parlay the media splash into a regular gig on CNN's "Burden Of Proof."


According to those lawyers, the accused could face a maximum penalty of 50 hours of community service, to be spent sweeping The Herald-Mail parking lot (no easy task if the birds return this year).

Unfortunately, our efforts to contact Big Sydney in hopes of getting another copy of his column were unsuccessful. No member of the current Herald-Mail sports staff has ever spoken to or seen Sydney.

The actual location of his bunker in Southern Washington County is a bigger mystery than figuring out the NFL's quarterback rating system.

Our checks of the phone book turned up no listings under 'Big' or 'Sydney,' so reaching him by phone was not an option.

And if you could see how Sydney's column looks on paper when it gets to us - like it was produced on Shirley Povich's second-hand typewriter from the early 20th century - you would know that trying to find an e-mail address for this guy is pointless.

However, late Thursday evening, members of the cleaning crew at The Herald-Mail reported seeing a mysterious figure enter the building and walk toward the newsroom.

Just minutes later, sports editor Mark Keller was hit in his significant forehead by a paper airplane which contained the last paragraph of this week's Big Sydney column and his picks for the weekend games.

Nobody in the newsroom saw or heard anything unusual, except for the Homer Simpson-like 'Doh!' from Keller when the picks arrived.

Videotapes taken from security cameras in The Herald-Mail building are currently under review.

What follows is the last paragraph of Big Sydney's column for the week, along with his picks.

So I ate another hot dog.

On with the predictions: Last week 9-7 (.563), season 14-7 (.667).


Liberty 24, Boonsboro 16: Score one for the Central Maryland Conference.

Smithsburg 13, Hancock 12: Panthers still can't figure out the Leopards.

Bowie 34, North Hagerstown 14: Hubs can't chase off Bulldogs in opener.

Westmar 18, Williamsport 6: A catfight of epic proportions. OK, maybe not quite.

Brunswick 33, Poolesville 13: Railroaders on track for a return trip to Byrd?

Catonsville 25, Catoctin 17: Big, bad Baltimore teams don't scare the Cougars.

Frederick 30, Central 10: Cadets finally moving up in the ranks.

Thomas Johnson 21, Middletown 17: Score two for the Central Maryland Conference.

Linganore 19, Walkersville 13: Score three for the Central Maryland Conference.

Greencastle 36, South Hagerstown 23: Rebels, Rebels won't be wearing dresses.

Beall 27, Berkeley Springs 12: All's well at Beall.

Musselman 34, Loudon County 16: Mosby? Who's that?

Frankfort 28, Hedgesville 18: Falcons fly past upstart Eagles.

Jefferson 20, Loudoun Valley 16: Cougars take things to a Hyre level.

Martinsburg 18, Oak Glen 7: Are the Bulldogs on that MTV Road Rules show?

Waynesboro 38, James Buchanan 9: The Rockets are still looking for that spark.

McDonogh 17, Chambersburg 15: Eagles slip by ... barely.


Mercersburg Academy 41, Fairfield 13: Storm offense will flood Fairfield.


Maryland 37, Temple 15: Terps celebrate Jordan's eligibility.

Michigan State 38, Marshall 21: Herd gets trampled in first big-time regular season game.

Shippensburg 32, Bloomsburg 30: Red Raiders leave Bloomsburg blue.

Frostburg State 27, Central Connecticut State 17: New coach Rubin Stevenson makes like Ruben Kincaid.


Ravens 24, Jaguars 17: Baltimore on top in the AFC Central just doesn't sound right.

Redskins 35, Lions 13: 'Skins are far better than the Stoney-age Lions.

Eagles 27, Giants 16: Are these Eagles for real? Ask the Cowboys.

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