Big Sydney (?) gives exclusive interview

October 05, 2000

Big Sydney (?) gives exclusive interview

My name is Al Ditzel, a sports writer for this publication. No, Big Sydney has not been fired. Quite the contrary. I believe, for the first time in the history of Big Sydney, I spoke to him. The caller would not confirm that he was, indeed, Sydney, but I truly believe it was him.

Last Monday, while local scores were being phoned into the paper, I picked up the phone and responded my usual way, "Sports, Al speaking.''

Then, in an almost unrecognizable voice, I heard, "What's going on with the M-Val? FSK and South are leading. Brunswick and Middletown, they ain't leading. What's going on?''

Instantly, I knew he was talking football. "Well, whatcha going to do?'' I quizzed hoping to end the conversation at that point.


"I've been watching games for 30 years. I've never seen anything like this,'' the voice, that sounded like a cross between Bullwinkle and Chumly, Tennessee Tuxedo's partner, said. "How am I supposed to pick these games?''

That was a hint, but I didn't quite pick up on it just yet. "Well, you don't have to pick the games,'' I said.

At that point, a resounding burp came across the phone. "Who is this?'' I asked.

"A friend. A friend of local sports, most particularly football.''

"No name?'' I asked.

"Uh, Betty,'' the voice responded.

"Hey, I've been around a while, bud, and you don't sound like a Betty,'' I said, pursuing an end to the conversation again.

"Well, that's my name and I'm sticking to it,'' the voice responded.

Again, a huge burp came over the phone.

"Whoa!'' I said. "What did you have for dinner, man?''

"A hot dog. A foot long. With the trimmings,'' he said.

"Trimmings?'' I asked with some fear in my voice.

"Yeah. Pickles, onions, tomatos, potatos, sauerkraut, cheese, chili, baked beans, salsa, hot peppers, yellow peppers, red peppers, mustard, hot mustard, lettuce ... and relish.''

"SYDNEY!'' I exclaimed.

"Huh? Uh, no. This isn't Sydney. I'm not as good looking as that guy.''

"C'mon now,'' I said. "No one, I mean, no one eats a hot dog that way but Sydney. And that's no hot dog, that's a coronary!''

"Hey, I've seen your picture in the paper,'' the voice said. "Looks like you use John Belushi's decathlon-training technique.

Then, at almost the same time, we said, "Little chocolate donuts.''

"Really. You're Sydney, aren't you?'' I asked. "I've been a fan since I moved into the area last year. Your stuff, it's histerical.''

"Thank you.''

"A-Ha!'' I said.

"Don't break into Take on Me now,'' the voice said.

An '80s musical reference, I thought. "I've wanted to ask you so many things.''

"Well, I'm not saying I'm Sydney, but what would you ask?''

"Everything I could,'' I said like a little kid. "And not just about local sports, but about pro sports, the Olympics. Hey, what about those games held in that town named for you?

"Real original,'' he said. "Like that new show, The Fugitive.''

"I'll have you know,'' I said with some confidence, "that I know The Fugitive is lightly based on the Dr. Sam Sheppard case.''

"Ooooooooo, and I bet you take great satisfaction in knowing that The Flintstones are lightly based on The Honeymooners,'' the voice, in a challenging manner, said. "So, what about the Olympics?''

"Well, what did you like most about them?'' I asked.

"They spelled the city's name right,'' he said.

''Disliked?'' I asked.

"They took the 'Big' out of the city's name,'' he said.

"What about pro sports, how about them St. Louis Rams?'' I asked.

"Don't understand why they left Cleveland,'' the voice said while chewing on some food. "This team scores a lot of points though, like the Norm Van Brocklin L.A. Rams.''

"That was in the '50s, right?'' I said with some fear.

"Yeah, music was great then, too,'' he said. "Nat King Cole, then Elvis, the Beatles, the Yardbirds, Zeppelin, The Police, Bow Wow Wow ...''

"Hold it!'' I said. "You cannot possibly group Bow Wow Wow in with those other legendary groups.''

"Quit being so picky,'' he said. "I dig the sounds. I remember when Layla was a rock song. ... Oh, and I can Bust a Move when I want.''

"You mean like Captain Kirk on priceline dot com?'' I answered.

"Funny kid. But not as funny as these high school games,'' he said. "I'll just have to chalk this year up with some other lost causes - like the new Coke, The Knack's follow-up album, the L.A. Clippers.''

"Hey, I think I know someone who might be able to get you some Montreal Expos tickets real cheap,'' I said.

"Funny kid,'' he said. "Keep your day job.''

"Great!'' I said. "Too bad you're not Sydney. Someone might actually find this amusing.''

"Like those bums who broke my mayonnaise jar a few weeks back,'' he said.

"You ARE Sydney!'' I said, determined to get to the truth.

"No kid, I'm not Sydney,'' he said. "But, this wouldn't be a bad thing to print if this week's mayonnaise jar only includes this week's picks. Well, I've gotta go.''

"Will you call again?'' I asked like a kid on Christmas.

"I might.''

"How will I know it's you, Sydney?''

"Remember, I told you my name was Betty.''

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