I live my life in search of three things:
The strike zone
-- Daniel Norris
Daniel Norris wrote about his life today at The Players' Tribune, trying to show a little more of himself than the van-living, ax-shaving, surfing nature boy who beat cancer that he's typically painted as. And as Norris points out, while he is all of those things. He's something else first.
Take a look above at my list of interest and hobbies. The van. The outdoors. Surfing. Now look at the term that comes before each one. It's what defines me just as much -- probably more than any of these other things.
When he's out on the ocean waiting for a wave, Norris is thinking about baseball. When he's driving his van across the country, he's thinking about baseball. When he was baptized, he was baptized in a baseball uniform (and he lists his search for eternal life as his
And that is an important message for Norris to get across. My first thought as I started to read the story today was that we're just two or three years away from Norris, just age 22, deciding that baseball was fun, but it's time to hang up the cleats, put away the gloves and spend the rest of his life living on the beach.
Again and again, Norris makes the point that that's just not true. Before any of those unique things that everyone likes to tell story about, he's a baseball player. He's been that for his entire life. And he's going to continue to be one because that's what he loves. And you know what? He sounds a lot like the rest of us, too.
I can honestly say that my least favorite day of the year is the last day of baseball season, because it means the off-season has arrived and baseball's over -- which is one of the reasons I hit the road in the van in the offseason. If there's no baseball, I need to keep myself occupied or I'll go crazy.
In only a handful of months since being acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays, Norris is already becoming the easiest player to root for on the Tigers. Beyond the wins in the standings, he's the kind of person you want to see good things happen to. He may be starting the season on the disabled list, but we're all just waiting to see him back in the Tigers' uniform, hoping he'll pick where he left off last season: a 1.76 ERA in September.
"I’m not a celebrity or anything. I’m not a household name. I’m just a baseball player who lives a little unconventionally — especially for a major leaguer."
Today's article only reinforces that point further. Be sure to read the whole thing.