Daniel Norris is a left-handed pitcher who joined the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, with a cool $2 million as a signing bonus.
Even with more money than most people can dream of, Norris spends spring training living in a $10,000 van, located in a Walmart parking lot.
He named the 1978 Volkswagen minibus "Shaggy," after the cartoon character from "Scooby-Doo." Employees of this Walmart have nicknamed him "Van Man."
Norris took three weeks to travel from his home in Tennessee to the Blue Jays training camp in Dunedin, Florida.
The simplicity of van life is what he finds truly appealing. "I grew up with a simple lifestyle, and I knew going into professional baseball that would be tested. In my mind there’s no need for luxury, or at least society’s sense of the word."
Although the Blue Jays don't understand his quirky behavior, they've been totally accepting. Toronto’s Assistant General Manager Tony LaCava has responded to questions regarding Daniel’s living situation by stressing that Daniel’s talent and skill as a ball player are the most important things to the organization, and that the van is not a big issue.
Sometimes people think he's someone who's down on his luck. Norris recalls being approached by a stranger one day who told him he'd pray for him and that his brother had been homeless, too. Norris takes these kinds of things in stride, though. He's always been a minimalist at heart and says his sense of adventure is what keeps him alive. It trains him to be self-reliant and find his own solutions to his problems.
“What I’ll do, if baseball goes well, is I’ll become even more of an ambassador for the things I really care about,” he said in an interview. “I’ll make sure Shaggy’s still running. I’ll pioneer change in how sports thinks about the environment.”
You can’t beat the view when the world is your doorstep.