Daniel Norris’ dreams came true when he signed to play for the Toronto Blue Jays to the tune of a $US2 million signing bonus.
But the 21-year-old isn’t cruising around town in a luxury car as you might expect.
Instead, he’s living out of a van.
Everyone is perplexed by Norris’ life choices. Why would a young millionaire athlete choose to live in a van?
“I knew after I signed [with the Blue Jays] that I was going to get a Volkswagen van,” Norris tells GrindTV. “It was my dream car. ‘Shaggy’ [the van] wasn’t even for sale when I got her. My dad just knew a guy who knew a guy.”
He bought Shaggy in 2011.
While to the untrained eye he might look like a lost soul, a wanderer, or worse, ESPN says,
The Van Man has a consistent 92-mile-an-hour fastball, a $US2 million signing bonus, a deal with Nike and a growing fan club, yet he has decided the best way to prepare for the grind of a 162-game season is to live here, in the back of a 1978 Westfalia camper he purchased for $US10,000. The van is his escape from the pressures of the major leagues, his way of dropping off the grid before a season in which his every movement will be measured, catalogued and analysed.
Norris gives fans and curious onlookers a peek into the #vanlife, as he calls it, through his Twitter feed, where he posts tons of photos.
If you caught that last photo, you can see Norris’ brand and fanbase isn’t just appealing to the sports fan market. The Fouled Anchor, a small store in Tennessee that sells handcrafted goods for men (think the Lumbersexual trend, in store form), has taken on Norris as a brand ambassador.
This is from its Facebook page:
Does the #vanlife take away from focusing on baseball? Norris doesn’t think so, though ESPN points out that sports teams value those who shed individuality for the good of the team.
“It’s like a yin-and-yang thing for me,” he tells ESPN. “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.”
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