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Harvey makes time for himself

After a hectic draft day, Ryan Harvey puts his future on hold for a moment to make the most of summer vacation.

Published June 8, 2003

You are drafted No. 6 overall by the Chicago Cubs, the media hangs on your every word for a few hours, local television stations hustle to get you on, reporters across the country request your presence on a conference call and your phone won't stop ringing.

Then, at 1 a.m., it is silent. You lie in your bed for a few seconds before drifting off. Draft day has, thankfully, come to an end.

Now what?

Ryan Harvey, Dunedin's newest major-leaguer in waiting, can answer that.

How about a trip to the mall, a round of golf and a party.

Harvey's first 100 hours after he was drafted have been a mixture of expectation and relaxation. Soon he will be signed and have millions of dollars in his bank account.

Until then, he'd prefer to bask in the remaining freedom he has, his final moments of being just a teenager on summer vacation.

That is why he slept until 1 p.m. the day after he was picked.

Draft day was as mentally exhausting as any Harvey has had. When his name was announced as the Cubs' choice, his house erupted. One thunderous burst of energy gave way to a grinding wave of congratulatory wishes.

It is what he remembers most. Not so much who called, but that they called ... over and over and over again.

One minute he was on his parents' home phone. The next, his cell phone was pressed to his ear. Then both at the same time.

His girlfriend handed him her phone - a friend wanted to congratulate him. Dunedin assistant Dennis Duncan handed Harvey his phone - an old teammate wanted to say hello. Dunedin coach Tom Hilbert passed along his phone - another player was calling with congratulations.

"It was never-ending," said Harvey, a shy and humble giant of a kid. "They just kept coming. Everybody was focused on me and nobody would leave me alone. It was pretty aggravating (after a while)."

Between the phone calls, the television cameras showed up at 1:30, 21 minutes after he was drafted. The Chicago media got him for a conference call at 4:30. Then more calls from well-wishers.

As night fell, so did silence, and Harvey was thankful.

Life his been less hectic for the future millionaire since. Sure, he still gets congratulatory calls here and there. And he's heard "So, when you taking me down to the car lot for a new ride" more than he cares to. But he has been able to find time for himself.

He managed 18 holes of it on the Seven Springs executive course Wednesday with friends Tyler Clippard and Kevin Morris and Clippard's father Bob. He said he shot around 80.

That includes one stroke on No. 10, after a brief rain delay, when his 3-wood flew from his hands and never came down, getting caught in a nearby tree.

Thursday, he went to the mall with his dad and some friends to spend some of his graduation money. He splurged on a pair of $50 sunglasses. For Harvey, it was a big purchase.

"I could have 40 bucks in my wallet and I'll still ask my dad for money for the movies," the frugal Falcon said.

Before he could leave, two teenage girls walked up to him.

"Are you Ryan Harvey?" one asked.

When Harvey, who never had seen the girls before, said yes, they asked for an autograph. But no one had a pen, so they walked into a jewelry store - and borrowed one. Then he signed his name on a piece of paper the girls provided.

Autographs are nothing new for Harvey, who estimates he has signed a couple of hundred. But this was his first as a Cub.

"It makes you feel like you're somebody," he said.

Friday, he hosted a graduation party for more than 60 friends.

The mother of one of those friends owns a car Harvey would just die for. While he has not thought of how he will spend his money, he knows he wants that car.

"It's the car I've wanted since I first saw it a few years ago," Harvey said. "I just died over it. I told her if I was ever drafted, I was going to buy it from her."

A Pearl white Lexus. Leather seats. Sweet stereo. Global positioning system.

"If it had any more stuff, it would fly," Harvey said.

As his friends partied inside, Harvey sat in the car and soaked in the sweet smell of the leather interior. He even got to drive it. He could buy his own, brand new, at any lot in town, but there's just something about that car.

That night, Harvey signed more autographs: four newspaper articles and eight baseballs.

Saturday, Harvey was cruelly awakened at 10 a.m. by his mother. A newspaper reporter was calling. Like he had for everyone else that week, Harvey groggily made a few minutes for the caller.

He reflected on the first week of his newfound fame, and his future.

In 10 days, if negotiations proceed as they have been, his advisor says he will be signed. He has a visit to Chicago scheduled for June 24-26. He expects to be sent to Arizona the day after for rookie-league ball. For the first day of work.

So much so soon. His plan, though, is not to think about it. He has more important things to ponder.

Like, is his 3-wood still in that tree? Harvey had plans Saturday to find out.

[Last modified June 8, 2003, 01:33:29]

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