MEET DANIEL NORRIS – Nick Bequette 252 ESPN Radio
It has been a busy MLB offseason with Heyward joining his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals rival, Chicago Cubs, as well as Johnny Cueto heading to the Giants, who are on pace to win the World Series this year. I say that because of there boom or bust seasons, every other year winning the World Series or not making the playoffs the next year. With all the moves around the MLB, including controversy amongst discussion of the Designated hitter possibly joining the National league, and a saga of gambling issues from Yu Darvish’s brother (Yu Darvish has been cleared from allegations of helping his brother), there has been a diamond in the rough, quieter offseason. Ironically this player’s desire to stay off the grid every offseason, is exactly why he’s making headlines. Blue Jays prospect, Daniel Norris, who pitched in the big leagues parts of last season, is living in a van down by the River every offseason…
The notoriously funny Chris Farley SNL (Saturday Night Live) skit has come to life. Okay, he isn’t necessary always living by a River in particularly, but he travels in a 1978 Volkswagen camper and lives off the land in various location across the United States, from beaches, woods, you name it. This is because to Daniel Norris, assimilating to society doesn’t fit where he wants to head in life.
When Norris was young, he grew up under beliefs that began 80 years ago from his grandfather who ran an independently owned bike shop. His family loved nature, living off the land provided and not taking anymore than they needed. He was a three sport athlete that was constantly outdoors, doing anything he could outside, from riding bikes to hiking trips. There family message? Simple. Live Simply. Play outdoors. Love the Earth. Something that everyone can take a lesson from in a world where we are constantly taking things for granted.
His van’s name? “Shaggy,” from the iconic cartoon “Scooby Doo,” and some mornings, Shaggy doesn’t always start. His typically van set up is outside of a Walmart in the Florida suburbs. Locals near the Walmart have mistakened him for a homeless man, even offering to give him money. Little do they know this man is a 92 mph throwing left hander that was drafted out of high school in 2011, with a 2 million dollar signing bonus. Yet, to Norris, he feels this money can only interfere with his lifestyle. His financial advisor only puts spurts of money in his account a month. 800 dollars, the equivalent to minimum wage with standard working hours. Waking up in the morning, cracking eggs that he has to smell to clarify if they are good or not, is the way Daniel Norris wants to live.
Personally I think Norris is doing the right thing, and has great values as a man, always thinking economically, being extremely self aware of the environment and embracing how he lives. Whether you see him as the man that lives down by the river, or the man who is slowly enforcing his way into the Blue Jays starting rotation, one thing is for certain, he embraces himself as an individual. An individual mentality on the mound, (and this is coming from a former pitcher) is an extremely useful mentality to implement into your game because you don’t rely as much on your defense. Just yourself. So, maybe there is a method to “madness” of Daniel Norris’s unconventional offseason.