first_img Published on September 23, 2019 at 11:07 pm Contact Anthony: Facebook Twitter Google+ Four blue and orange tents lined the far west end of Syracuse’s Fine Lot a few hundred yards from the entrance to the Carrier Dome. An inflatable Otto the Orange stood behind one of Saturday’s grill masters, John Ostapovich, and the smoke from his grill is visible from almost a hundred feet away.The Orange didn’t kick off against Western Michigan until 12 p.m., but Mark Bradwick, one of the tailgate’s founders, woke up at 5:00 a.m. to prepare for the Fine Mess tailgate. By 8 a.m., the first fans arrived. A whiteboard easel stood at the front of the line of food, signaling the schedule and menu for Saturday.Saturday’s selections included bratwurst, coney hot dogs, Bavarian potato salad, deviled eggs, red beans and rice and “WMU funeral potatoes.” By 11 a.m., food stopped being served, and the group of at least a hundred scattered across the Dome for kickoff.Before that though, the tailgate held two different raffles. One for a signed Dino Babers football. The other is a 50-50 raffle that’s donated a total of more than $3,000 total to ALS and the U.S. Army in the last two weeks.“Our motto is, if you want this football program to get to the next level,” said Mike Lentini, a group organizer, “we need to take our tailgate to the next level, SEC style.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhat began as seven diehard Syracuse fans back in 2006 has turned into one of Syracuse’s biggest tailgates. Before Syracuse’s game against No. 1 Clemson on Sept. 14, the tailgate reached 300 people, Bradwick said. They even encourage visiting fans to tailgate alongside them. The group has grown and expanded thanks to, a forum of Syracuse fans who communicate and plan the entirety of the tailgate through the private messages and public subforums of the website.They’ve named the weekly tailgate Fine Mess, which is a play on both the lot’s name and Laurel and Hardy’s 1930 comedy skit titled “Another Fine Mess,” Bradwick said.“I’d go away to these road games and I wouldn’t know anybody,” Bradwick said. “I would show up here. I didn’t know who to hang out with, so I created our own little tailgate.”SU fans travel from across the country for games, looking for pregame festivities. Sometimes, they’ll end up at the Fine Mess. Last week, Bradwick said that two Orange fans from Alaska came to their tailgate before Clemson. Most of the connections come through the forum and word of mouth spreading information about “the largest tailgate in Stadium West,” Lentini said.“Pre-internet, everyone and their own families did their own thing,” Lentini said. “The internet and the sports message boards allowed all the passionate fans to finally get together in one place.”The more people at the tailgate, the more money they can raise. As a part of Military Appreciation Day in the Carrier Dome, the group decided that they’d donate half of the 50-50 winnings to Ft. Drum’s 10th Mountain Division. Last week’s cause was ALS — in honor of  Tim Green, who was honored at halftime. Bradwick said they raised $1,825 two weekends ago. Saturday, $1,117 went toward the military division. Tailgate organizers pick a different group every time for the raffle.The Fine Mess has raised money for the ALS and 10th Mountain Division in the last two weeks through its 50-50 raffle. Will Fudge | Staff PhotographerEach week, a few volunteers cook food and front the cost of running the tailgate. Some positions are permanent, as Bradwick said the Fine Mess has a “beer god” who’s in charge of getting the ice and beer each week.Ostapovich, Saturday’s grill master, drives to SU from New Jersey for each home game and drivable road games. He learned of the tailgate through the online forum and has been coming to the Fine Mess for five years.Jim Giacovelli has been coming to Syracuse games since the mid-1980s and learned of the tailgate through word of mouth. He’s since used the fan page to expand its reach and now has a group of 30 people traveling from the southern tier of New York up I-81 for SU games.When the Fine Mess hits the road — they did road trips last year to Western Michigan, Clemson and Orlando for the Camping World Bowl, among others — they’ll sit together. Bradwick will post in advance in a subforum about getting group tickets at a discounted rate. He pays the cost once people RSVP, he said, and then is repaid later through PayPal and Venmo.Bradwick and about 60 others traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan for the 2018 season opener. That’s how Bruce Frandsen, a Broncos’ fan who has missed just three total WMU games in three years, learned of the Fine Mess. Frandsen doesn’t usually tailgate for road games, but on Saturday he watched as “Whose house? Our house!” chants broke out minutes before the end of the tailgate.“One of the people from our tailgate group was on the message board with Mark [Bradwick],” Frandsen said. “We find the college football environment tends to be pretty welcoming. This group has been fantastic.”Bruce Frandsen (left) and Mark Bradwick tailgate together despite their different allegiances on Saturday. Will Fudge | Staff PhotographerTheir numbers may dwindle as Saturday’s bright sunshine is replaced by November’s clouds, cold, rain and snow. But the Fine Mess rolls in space heaters and canopies to block the wind and keep warm.Since the Orange won 10 games last year and were ranked this preseason for the first time since 1998, crowds have grown accordingly. Not only in the Carrier Dome, where SU had its third-highest football attendance ever against Clemson two weeks ago, but also out in the back corner of the Fine Lot, where more than a hundred people cherish Syracuse game days.“It’s the camaraderie and fundraising,” Giacovelli said. “It’s about coming up here later in the season when it’s raining or snowing and dealing with the elements and being around other diehard fans. Commentslast_img read more

first_imgThe La Liga title race shows no sign of abating as Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid all win on Wednesday nightJust one month ago, the suggestion that anyone other than Barcelona would be crowned champions in May would have been dismissed as foolish in the extreme.It started when…Luis Suarez scores four in Barca routLuis Suarez scored four goals as Barcelona got their La Liga title charge back on track with an emphatic 8-0 victory at Deportivo La Coruna.Having opened the door to Atletico and Real Madrid with three consecutive league defeats, the Catalans could ill afford another slip up in the title race at Estadio Riazor.But Suarez’s 13-minute first-half brace allayed those initial fears for Luis Enrique’s men, before Ivan Rakitic struck two minutes after the interval to put the game beyond Victor Sanchez’s menBarca then cut loose as Suarez scored twice more before Lionel Messi, Marc Bartra and Neymar completed the rout.The result sees Barca remain top of the Primera Division and heap pressure on title rivals Real, who play Villarreal later on Wednesday night.It took the Catalans just 11 minutes to break the deadlock at the Riazor, with Suarez out-muscling Deportivo centre-back Sidnei to turn Rakitic’s corner home from close range.The outcome of the game then hinged on the next 13 minutes as Celso Borges spurned two glorious chances to get the hosts level.First he failed to turn Lucas’ floated ball home on 18 minutes before Claudio Bravo thwarted his tame effort, after Cani’s deflected shot fell for him six yards out.And Deportivo were made to pay five minutes later as Messi’s incisive pass put Suarez through on and the Uruguayan drilled low past Manuel Fernandez.Suarez should have completed his hat-trick on 34 minutes but somehow managed to hit Dani Alves’ cross over the target from six yards.The miss didn’t prove costly, though, as Barca got their third on 47 minutes, with Rakitic volleying Suarez’s cross clinically into the back of the net.Suarez did get his third six minutes later as Barca cut the hosts’ defence to shreds again, with Messi’s clever pass playing the former Liverpool man through, before he scored his fourth on 64 minutes.Lucas spurned another good chance to reduce the arrears for the hosts on 69 minutes and they were punished again as Messi got in on the act, turning Suarez’s unselfish cross beyond Manuel 17 minutes from time.Bartra then bagged the goal of the game with Barca’ seventh, bursting from deep into the Deportivo area before producing a fine finish.And then it was left for Neymar to end his month-long wait for a goal with his side’s eighth, converting Suarez’s cross from close range on 81 minutes.Atletico Madrid overcame Athletic Bilbao 1-0 as Fernando Torres continued his recent resurgence with his fifth goal in as many matches.Barcelona and Real Madrid also recorded victories on Wednesday, leaving Atletico level on points with Barca but second in the table due to their inferior head-to-head record, and one point clear of third-placed Real.Torres was sent off against the league leaders in the Champions League last month but he has since netted in La Liga games against Espanyol, Granada and now Bilbao, the Spaniard’s 38th-minute header proving the difference at the San Mames Stadium.At the other end of the table, Sporting Gijon climbed out of the relegation zone with a surprise 2-1 win over Sevilla.Isma Lopez scored an injury-time winner to give the home side a valuable three points, which moves them into 17th, above Granada, who play Levante on Thursday.It was only Sporting’s second victory in 13 league matches and leaves Sevilla seventh, five points off the top six.Valencia’s hopes of securing European football are all-but over but Los Che beat Eibar 4-0 to jump up to eighth, above Malaga, who drew 1-1 at home to Rayo Vallecano. AND ThenFernando Torres hit the winner as Atletico Madrid stayed in title contentionReal Madrid kept up the pressure on Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a 3-0 win over Villarreal on Wednesday night.Karim Benzema opened the scoring for Real in the first half, before Lucas Vazquez and Luka Modric secured the three points after break.The result keeps Zinedine Zidane’s side a point behind leaders Barcelona and second-placed Atletico, who had both won earlier in the night.Barcelona ended a run of poor results with an 8-0 win at Deportivo la Coruna, while Atletico secured a 1-0 triumph at Athletic Bilbao.Perhaps due to Barcelona’s overwhelming victory, the atmosphere was largely flat at the Bernabeu at kick-off, and it showed in the home side’s display for the majority of the first half.Real had plenty of possession, but didn’t look like breaking through Villarreal’s defence until their opener after 41 minutes.Cristiano Ronaldo, Real’s biggest threat, burst down the left before crossing into the six-yard box. The ball was palmed away by Sergio Asenjo, but he only sent it as far as the onrushing Benzema, who had the easiest of jobs to guide a header into an empty net.The goal finally brought the game to life and Villarreal had their first meaningful attack almost immediately after falling behind, Denis Suarez forcing a decent save out of Keylor Navas after breaking into space on the edge of Real Madrid’s area.Real improved after the break, but still struggled to create clear-cut chances until Vazquez doubled their lead after 69 minutes.The winger, in for the injured Gareth Bale, played a great one-two with Benzema before charging into the area and slamming the ball just inside Asenjo’s near post, clipping the inside of the upright as it went in.And seven minutes later the game really was up for a disappointing Villarreal side – who play Liverpool in the Europa League semi-final next Thursday night – as Modric made it three.Again, Benzema was involved as he released Danilo down the right, and the full-back found Modric in the area, who used his first touch to fire home.The title race now rumbles onto Saturday, when Real travel to Rayo Vallecano before Atletico host Malaga and Barcelona play Sporting Gijon.Then Zinedine Zidane’s side keep up pressure on Barcelona –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. 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