Why Eco-Friendly MLB Pitcher Daniel Norris Lives in a Van (Exclusive)

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Jul. 21 2021, Published 11:23 a.m. ET

Daniel Norris van man
Source: Getty Images, Bulldog Skincare

In the baseball offseason, most MLB players probably live in luxurious mansions or vacation at swanky resorts — but Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris chooses to live a very different lifestyle than his teammates.

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Norris, 28, first joined the MLB in 2014 as a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, and has made a name for himself as an incredible pitcher — and as that baseball player who lives in a 1978 Volkswagen van. Embracing #vanlife helps keep Norris’ environmental impact low, it allows him to live closer to nature (he is a fan of surfing), and it’s a huge money-saver (not that MLB players are typically short on cash).

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Green Matters recently caught up with Norris as part of his partnership with men’s sustainable skincare brand, Bulldog. “Bulldog’s products are made with the best of science and nature to create performance products that help my skin look a lot healthier and more energized,” Norris tells us, adding that he appreciates the quality of Bulldog’s skincare products, as well as the brand’s commitment to the environment.

Norris recently shared a video on Instagram showing how he uses Bulldog’s cruelty-free and vegan products to wash and moisturize his face — in the ocean after a surf session. Done like a true van lifer.

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Daniel Norris
Source: Bulldog Skincare

Of course, Norris is best known for his career as a pitcher, but we at Green Matters were curious to learn more about his passion for protecting the planet, his sustainable living habits, and his advice for others who want to lower their environmental impact. So, we interviewed Norris via email as part of our Green Routine series.

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GREEN MATTERS: What inspired you to live in a van in the offseason?

DANIEL NORRIS: I knew right after I joined the Blue Jays that I was going to get a Volkswagen van. I loved the simplicity of it and being able to live a more sustainable lifestyle with just the basic essentials.

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GM: What are your favorite and least favorite things about van life?

DN: I love just being in the moment. I really like to explore my surroundings so sometimes I'll just stop at the side of the road and look around the beaches or the mountains — whatever is there.

My least favorite thing about the van is that sometimes it's a little hard to get started, it takes a couple of seconds to really get the engine going.

GM: When did you become an environmentalist? Was there a specific moment or fact you learned that changed your perspective?

DN: I’ve always been really conscious about the environment. There wasn’t a real specific moment, rather just being hyper aware of things that we do every day that have an effect on our carbon footprint.

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GM: Why do you care about protecting the planet?

DN: Earth is the only planet we have — we need to take care of her as much as we can.

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GM: What can the MLB and pro baseball players do to be more eco-friendly? 

DN: I would say it’s really eliminating and reducing waste as much as possible. For athletes, or really anyone, I would say be conscious of using sustainable products. I like using Bulldog Skincare because their products are made from natural ingredients and use environmentally-friendly sugarcane packaging instead of plastic.

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GM: What is the one tip you give anyone trying to live more sustainably?

DN: On top of using sustainable products, I think it’s something as simple as being aware of actions that may increase a person’s carbon footprint. Whether that’s limiting use of plastics or even carpooling, just being aware can make a huge difference.

GM: What is the biggest misconception about living sustainably that you have discovered?

DN: That we don’t make a difference. Individual actions add up over time, so everyone has a responsibility in sustainability.

Green Routine is a series from Green Matters that invites notable people in the environmental space to share the efforts they make to live more sustainably.

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