DUNEDIN, Fla. — Daniel Norris is not your average pitching prospect.
A native of Johnson City, Tenn., Norris may be the most relaxed and collected player in the Toronto Blue Jays organization — and he is only 20 years old.
After signing with the Blue Jays in August of 2011 and receiving a $2 million signing bonus, the young left-hander purchased a Volkswagen microbus and a couple of surfboards, and then stashed the rest away for the future.
“I had meetings with my financial people,” Norris said. “They told me that my investments are doing well and that I can go out and spend some money. I told them, ‘That’s OK, I have more than I need.’”
Norris’ unique mentality is a result of his close relationship with his father and the lessons that he procured in his upbringing.
A bicycle builder and repairman, David Norris has owned his own shop for 37 years, after acquiring the business from his father. According to the young pitcher, his father is a perfectionist who continues to work a 60-hour, six-day week regularly, despite his son’s success.
“He just really taught me how to work hard. That kind of stuck with me throughout my life,” Norris said. “When stuff gets hard and I think man, I should take a day off, I just think about him and he’s always working.”
Norris also credits his father for his very grounded approaches towards wealth and the dangers of excess.
“My dad taught me to only have what you need,” Norris said. “Anything in excess of that is when you fall into greed. I try to stay away from that as much as possible.”
Norris only buys things that he can use for prolonged periods of time.
“I get a new phone and less than five months later, there is a new version out and everyone is going to get it. I just don’t need that new phone – there is nothing wrong with mine.”
It is for this reason that Norris is constantly draped in Patagonia clothing – his favourite brand, by far.
“I would love to have an odd job with them because they encourage their customers not to buy new stuff,” Norris said. “This year for Black Friday, Patagonia had ‘Anti-Black Friday’. They were like, ‘Don’t buy new stuff – ours last 20 years.’”
The Tennessee fireballer, who grew a self-dubbed ‘gnarly beard’ in the off-season, will likely start the upcoming season with the Class-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays. If he continues to pitch well, he may find himself in New Hampshire playing with the Double-A Fisher Cats.
Regardless of how much success the young southpaw may have in his future, only one thing is guaranteed – Daniel Norris will not change.