Those who didn't follow the Astros farm system prior to 2012 may not be familiar with Jimmy Van Ostrand. Drafted by the Astros in the 8th round in 2006 out of California Polytechnic (San Luis Obispo), the Vancouver, British Columbia native toiled in the Astros system for six seasons, playing mostly first base. Van Ostrand played a whopping 331 games for the Hooks, earning him the unofficial title of Mayor of Corpus Christi. In 2012, Van Ostrand played for Team Canada in the Pan American Games, helping to secure a win in the gold medal game by driving in both of Team Canada's runs. Van Ostrand was inducted, along with the rest of that 2011 Team Canada Senior National team into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
Jimmy Van Ostrand
I reached out to Van Ostrand to find out what he's been doing since his time with the Astros.
JH: Can you fill us in on what you've been doing since you were with the Astros?
JVO: I continued playing for two more seasons after my release by the Astros. In 2012, I spent a month with the Sugar Land Skeeters before being picked up by the Washington Nationals. In 2013, I returned to the Nationals splitting my time between AA/AAA. In January of 2014, I became the Volunteer Assistant Coach at Boston College and spent two seasons with the team before joining the staff at University of Arizona last July as the Director of Player Development.
JH: What one memory (or more) have you taken with you from your time in the Astros organization?
JVO: There are countless memories that I have with me from the 6 years I spent playing in the Astros Organization. Most of my favorite ones involve time with teammates whether it was in Tri-City, Lexington, Salem or Corpus Christi. A couple that jump out are floating the river near Salem with "The Legion" or playing golf on the off day in Corpus where Mark Ori got attacked by fire ants and ended up looking like Will Smith in Hitch!
JH: What life lesson(s) have you learned from your time playing minor league and independent league ball?
JVO: My years spent in minor league baseball and the lessons learned have a major impact on the person I am today. I think the biggest ones from minor league baseball are the ability to work with a variety of people from all kinds of different backgrounds. Another huge benefit from my time in baseball is the ability to adapt and adjust to a number of situations and maintain an ability to focus and perform in stressful situations.
JH: What advice would you give a player whose MLB dream gets cut short?
JVO: It is always going to be tough when you are no longer able to compete regardless of the reason for that happening. I think the best advice I'd have is to acknowledge that disappointment head on but at the same time taking time to reflect on all the other benefits that have come thanks to the process of attempting to make a career out of a game.
JH: What would you like to say to the friends and fans you made along the way?
JVO: Thank you!! I truly enjoyed my tie in professional baseball and continue to be blessed with the ability to remain connected to the game on a daily basis. The game holds a very special place in my heart but a huge part of that are the friends and fans who have made the experience so enjoyable every step of the way.
JH: And finally, you know I had to ask ... can you tell me about the Bachelorette experience?
JVO: Well... It was a short lived one at best haha. Somebody nominated me for the show so I was contacted by a member from their casting department to gauge my interest. At the time I was a free agent but didn't have any offers so they arranged for me to meet with the producers when I was travelling through LA. A few days later things worked out signing back with the Nationals and it turned out filming would conflict with spring training so that was basically the end of that!
Thank you for your time, Jimmy, and best of luck with this next part of your baseball life!