Everyone needs time to step back and refuel. For introverts, this time is really important. That’s why I take time by myself every morning to have my breakfast, coffee and reading time alone. I do this because I know when I get to the field, there are going to be a lot of interactions with fans and teammates.
Early in my career I hung by myself a lot, not out of selfishness or pride, but because it was comfortable for me. Last season, I chose to be more intentional with people by sitting down and talking with my teammates. I felt myself opening up, and by feeding off and into others, I had the most fun baseball season I’d ever had. Even though we lost a lot of games and had the worst record in baseball, it was a fun team.
When I first entered the league, I didn’t spend much time in the locker room; in fact, I avoided it as much as I could. Last season, I opened up a sort-of coffee shop in my locker. It became a place where guys would come every day, not only for a good cup of coffee, but for conversation and fellowship. Each day before we took the field, whether we had a day game or night game, I’d hand out mugs to whoever wanted to come, and we’d sit in a circle and just chat.
I love my coffee. Every time we go on the road for a game, I wake up early and find a local coffee shop where I do my reading and have my coffee. At each coffee shop I visit, I buy a bag of beans; these are the beans I’ll brew at my locker/coffee shop for the next week. The guys became a group of coffee connoisseurs after a while, each having an opinion on which city’s beans are the best.
Coffee Noriega is what this local spot soon became known as (Noriega is a nickname a former teammate, Nick Castellanos, gave me; it stuck). We looked forward to this every day. Each morning as we sipped coffee in a circle, listening to my Coffee Noriega playlist, we would talk. Relationships, baseball, coffee, God. Nothing was off limits. Often we talked about God. Most of the guys who came were Christ-followers, but some were not. They didn’t always join in the talk about God, but they were there. They stayed present.
I believe this is where seeds are planted. You never know what might take root in their hearts. On Sunday mornings specifically, my coffee shop would play worship music and we’d talk about things of Christ, questions we had for each other and things we were learning. It was always a good vibe.
Someday when I retire from the game of baseball, I’d love to open up a faith-based coffee shop/surf shop on the West Coast. One of my mentors opened up a faith-based coffee shop in Nashville, where we often meet to study God’s Word. Whenever I step into that shop, I can’t help but feel God’s presence. It’s not in your face, and plenty of non-Christians go there regularly for their morning cup, but it was opened on the grounds of God and that’s what makes it unique. That’s what I would want my coffee shop to feel like.
Until then, Coffee Noriega will continue to brew great coffee and foster good fellowship for my local community.
— Daniel Norris, Detroit Tigers pitcher
Daniel Norris is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Daniel’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/daniel-norris/
If you enjoyed this article, please share: