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Detroit Pitcher Daniel Norris Embraces Unconventional Adventure

Tom Buehring - 700 Club Producer

Of all the current Major League players - one separates from the pack - Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris, whose unique approach is as different as the changeup he throws. The 25 year-old left-hander is branded, the “Van Man”, living his off-seasons unconventionally in his ’78 VW while taking in life with conviction!

Question: “Labeling, minimalist, non-conformist, free spirit. How does Daniel Norris define himself?

Daniel: “I’ve always just kind of done what I’ve kind of enjoyed.  Whether that’s being off the beaten path or non-conforming or whatever it is. I’ve always just kind of been intrigued by curiosity of the world, I guess, -- and that’s where a lot of my adventures come. As far as the minimalists – that’s just the way I was raised, we were always very simple and we had only what we needed and nothing in excess.”     

Question: “As a pitcher, how does the position capture that personality?”

Daniel: “I think it brings me out of that comfort zone. Because a lot of times -- off doing my own thing -- I’m feeling Him hold my right hand all day that’s where I have that calm and at peace from but on the mound it’s like He kind of like lights a fire under me to go out there and compete for Him.”  

Question: “You in that ’78 VW camper, you’re inseparable, what does that bring you?

Daniel: “The off-season I spend a lot of time in it and that’s when I live in it. When I get in the van and I go somewhere – the destination’s always great – it usually involves water – I like to be by the ocean but the journey there is always just so peaceful. I mean can’t go over 55 miles an hour. You’re in the right lane and I’m just talking to God the whole time or if I’m listening to music, that’s something I’ve always enjoyed.”   

Question: “As a photographer what is that lens let you see that the eye normally doesn’t.”

Daniel: “For one I want to share God‘s creation whether that be the mountains or the ocean or a human being I want to share that and I’m very drawn to the homeless people or poverty and I think that we all can be inspired by St. Francis and to follow Jesus in giving and for me that’s just so inspiring to be able to help the people who are less fortunate. That brings me happiness. Living intentionally. That’s just so important to me.”

Question: “Living intentionally is that another way of living with an eternal perspective?”

Daniel: “Absolutely! I mean every single step that I take every day should be with intentions of living eternally with God. If you’re always focused on God and your mind never leaves Him you’re not going to make the mistakes that have held you captive your whole life when you fall victim to your failings in the past. So for me, living intentionally means living with God every step. There’s intent with every step. Every pitch has intent!”                 

Question: “When we hear non-conformist, radical – it’s not often Christianity is tied to that especially today - should Christianity be at the forefront of that conversation?”

Daniel: “I believe so, personally. Being Christian is radical! You should live radically! You should love radically! You should give radically! For me I challenge myself to kind of live that way and just go out of that comfort zone.  I think that’s really important to really embody Christ in that way is what would Jesus do? He would do a lot of things that we’re not doing.”

Question: “How do you think the current American Church could show a greater contrast of Christ in culture?”

Daniel: “You know Church is kind of bottled into a building.  We think of Church as we walk into it but I think Church and worshipping God is every day! It’s individually, as a team, as a congregation – and it’s everything! I can go to this baseball field and worship God. I can go in my van and worship God. My main goal is to glorify God, no matter what I do, whether its warning up throwing a bullpen pitching a game, striking people out or even giving up a home run and trust that God will get you through it. I’m very cognizant of it as I’m pitching. To me that’s Church. And we shouldn’t feel conformed into the building!”

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