Toronto Blue Jays 21-year-old pitching prospect Daniel Norris used his $2-million signing bonus to buy a 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van, which he plans to live in during spring training as he’s done the last two seasons.
The van, nicknamed Shaggy after the Scooby-Doo character, will be Norris’s home for the next 2 1/2 months in Dunedin, Fla.
Norris, originally from Johnson City, Tenn., recently spoke to the Toronto Star about his van.
Here are interview highlights:
Q: How’s Shaggy (his beloved van) holding up?
A: She’s good. I was away from her for a few days, but it’s good to be back now.
Q: So you’re living in the van all through spring training, not just while you’re on the road?
A: Yeah (laughing). It’s a full-time gig.
Q: Where do you park it?
A: I usually park on Honeymoon Island (a public beach about a 10-minute drive from the Jays’ spring-training complex in Dunedin.) I talked to one cop who patrols the area and he said he was cool with it, but he’s only there Thursday through Sunday, and his partner who covers the other three days isn’t cool with it. So I park at the Wal-Mart Monday to Wednesday and then move to the island.
Q: What’s the best thing about living in a van? A: Being by yourself, making your own decisions and not really answering to anybody. Not that I don’t like being home with my family and stuff, but sometimes it’s nice to just be alone and take care of yourself. It makes you get up and do stuff. You can’t just sit in there and watch TV. I mean, you can, but it’s not comfortable. Being alone so much you learn about yourself. Last year especially I really started thinking deeper about myself and what it took to get me going. It’s definitely taught me a lot. Q: What’s the worst thing?
A: Every year I’ve gotten a lot better at packing lighter, but still it gets messy. I’m not OCD or anything, but there’s times when I just want to throw everything out. You have to be organized or else it starts to feel really cramped.
Q: How do you decide where to stop on the road?
A: I always make a point to stop at Folly Beach and Charleston. That’s a really beautiful area. But other than that I just go wherever. I’ll buy, like, $20 of gas and then stop when it runs out. I’ve done that a number of times.
Norris pitched 6.2 innings for the Blue Jays last season.