Pro-Baseball Star Ditches Dirtbagging for Opening Day
Daniel Norris is one of baseball’s top-ranked pitchers, a cancer survivor, makes millions and spends the offseason dirtbagging in a van.
The 24-year-old ex-Toronto Blue Jays pitcher signed to play out of high school, earning a $2 million signing bonus. He now plays for the Detriot Tigers.
During the offseason he calls his 1979 Volkswagen dubbed “Shaggy” home.
Norris has a big Instagram following with nearly 200,000 followers and nearly all of his images of of surfing, mountains, van living and influential outdoor people.
For the 2018 opening day of baseball, he’s trimmed the scruff and left dirtbagging behind for the baseball season.
“It’s like a yin-and-yang thing for me,” he said in 2015. “I’m not going to change who I am just because people think it’s weird.
“The only way I’m going to have a great season is by starting out happy and balanced and continuing to be me. It might be unconventional, but to feel good about life I need to have some adventure.”
He spends some of his dirtbagging days on the road with top climbing photographer Ben Moon. Watch a film that Moon made about Norris below.
Norris’s family has owned a bicycle shop in Johnson City, Tennessee, for more than 80 years. Despite his $2 million signing bonus, Norris lived off just $800 a month.
In an interview with ESPN he was asked why he chooses to continue to live so conservatively. He asked back, “Who am I to deserve that? What have I really done? I’m actually more comfortable being kind of poor,”
On October 19, 2015, Norris announced through his Instagram account that he had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He was diagnosed the previous April, and with a doctor’s consent, he continued playing and delayed treatment until the end of the season.
On October 29, Norris announced he was cancer-free following a successful surgery to remove a malignant growth from his thyroid.
Watch this great short film by Moon and try to not want to hit the road right now.