Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Milford man helps save baseball journey

Lost cameras found, Californians' 30-stadium trip resumes

William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A stop in Cincinnati on Sunday yielded "the first major speed bump" for a quartet of Southern California 20-something baseball fans journeying to visit all 30 major league baseball stadiums.

When the group left Cincinnati after attending the Reds game Sunday in Great American Ball Park - the 10th stop on their 44-day tour - they realized they had left behind a camera bag with two digital cameras and a digital video recorder.

And more important, they had left behind the visual record of the first third of their trip.

"We kind of panicked a little bit. We tore apart the car. It wasn't there," 22-year-old Mike Abraham of Santa Ana, recalled Tuesday. About 50 miles from Cincinnati on their way to Chicago, Abraham, his brothers, Jason and Jeff,and friend Tucker Coston turned their 2002 Ford Explorer around and searched a parking lot near Pete Rose Way where they thought they might have left the bag. It was nowhere in sight.

Saddened by their loss, the group resumed their trip to Chicago.

The group's gloomy attitude changed Monday morning when they checked their e-mail, Abraham said. There was a message from Paul Richards, 37, of Milford, saying he had found their camera bag.

"It was kind of like waking up on Christmas morning,'' Abraham said.

Richards , who has Reds weekend season tickets, found the camera bag sitting in the parking lot and found the men's e-mail addresses inside.

"I was just trying to do the right thing,'' Richards said Tuesday.

Richards returned the camera bag and photo equipment to the baseball adventurers Tuesday night at a Chicago White Sox game.

"How amazing is that part of it?" Richards said of plans he had previously made to be in Chicago on business Tuesday and to attend the White Sox game that night.

To follow the progress of the Southern California baseball fans' trip, you can go to their Web site:

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