Daniel Norris is a pitching prospect in the minor league system of the Toronto Blue Jays, he’s currently ranked as the #25 overall prospect in the minor leagues, and he spends his off season living live as an absolute bro king.
MiLB’s Josh Jackson recently published a long article on how Daniel Norris spends his offseason, and it’s easily the most unorthodox routine I’ve ever heard of when it comes to a professional pitcher: he travels the coast of California surfing, living in a van by himself, and peppering in hikes in between surfing sessions. Norris basically devotes his entire offseason to reconnecting with nature in the most badass (and surprising) of ways.
Daniel Norris’ lifestyle tends to come off as a massive shock for most people, take for instance the roadside interaction he had with another traveler this past offseason:
“I had the French press out, making some coffee,” recalled the Blue Jays’ top prospect. “A guy hops out of his van. It was one of the old Astrovans, pretty cool — I just have a Volkswagen — and the guy hops out and says, ‘You got any extra for me?'”
Norris did. As they sat and drank their cups of joe, the man noticed something atypical in the Volkswagen.
“I had my Blue Jays bag with all of my gear in the back,” Norris said. “He looked at it and said, ‘What’s this?’ I tried to just kind of brush it off, ‘Oh, that’s just my bag.’ ‘Blue Jays? You play for them or something?’ I said, ‘Well, yeah, I do… ‘ He was like, ‘Why are you doing this? What are you living out of a van? You don’t hear about that much. Usually, you guys are driving Ferraris.'”
I’m gonna be honest, if I was a top pitching prospect and forced to spend my working life in cities like Durham and Montgomery, I’d be utilizing every free second I had to travel the coasts surfing. When locked up on the mound in those mid-America cities, you can easily forget that we live in the greatest nation on Earth…
There are those in the Toronto organization who’ve expressed similar sentiments to the 21-year-old left-hander, who, for the third straight season, is on a slow journey from his home in Johnson City, Tennessee, to Dunedin, Florida, for Spring Training, stopping and surfing as often as he can. And, yes, living out of his 1978 Volkswagen van as he goes. He cooks his meals and his coffee with a backpacking stove that’s also served him on mountain treks, and he passes his days enjoying the solitude he finds on the road and in the waves.
“[The Blue Jays] have expressed concern as far as living in the van. For them, it’s just, ‘Why?’ They’ve kind of said, ‘Well, we don’t think that’s a very good idea.’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, I’ve been doing stuff like this my whole life,'” explained Norris, who, in addition to surfing and hiking, is an avid mountain biker and rock climber and also ranks as MLB.com’s No. 25 overall prospect.
“I love the outdoors. I grew up in the outdoors and that’s why I love it. I’m passionate about it — being able to be with the environment and having a relationship with it on a personal level, because you’re living in it,” Norris said. “My dad’s had [the mountain bike shop] for 35 years. His dad had it before him. I’ve been mountain biking my whole life. I’ve been hiking my whole life.”
Surfing is a passion developed more recently, one he took up in Dunedin after turning pro. During the last few offseasons, he’s made up for years spent in landlocked Tennessee.
“I took a few offseason trips. I got a board and started doing it a lot in different places along the East Coast,” he said. “I went down to Nicaragua last year and went to a lot of the surf spots. Those were the best waves I’ve ever ridden.”
Like any professional athlete, Norris sticks to a year-round training regimen.
“Being outdoors and in the outdoor world — all the activities out there — the action sports are a workout by themselves,” he said. “Obviously, I am getting my [baseball] work in. I am in the gym a lot during the offseason, but I really want to make sure I get out and do something in the mountains or go on a surfing trip as much as I can.
Straight up BRO KING. Spends his entire year finding ways to get into AND say in shape, while not grinding it out in a boring gym…all while getting paid decent sums of $$$$…just living the dream!
To read the full article on my new favorite prospect in baseball you can CLICK HERE.