Sonoma State University pitcher Harmen Sidhu was ridiculously sensational this past season.
How sensational? This sensational: A coach would need to know only eight words of English to say to Sidhu during the 13 games he worked.
"Slow down your arm motion on your curveball."
That's it. Just eight words, although SSU coach John Goelz would have to say them in two different games, which still did not increase the risk of laryngitis. For as effective and trouble-free as Sidhu pitched, Goelz might as well have said, "Fried eggs and ham I am!" to Sidhu during a game and the results probably would have been the same.
Sidhu has been awarded the 2013 Tino Martinez Award given annually to the most outstanding player in NCAA Division II baseball as determined by the site CollegeBaseballLineup.com.
The award was named after Martinez, acknowledged as the best Division II player in NCAA history when he played for the University of Tampa. Martinez was a 1998 USA Olympian who played 16 seasons — for the Yankees, Mariners, Cardinals and Devil Rays — hitting 339 home runs, driving in 1,271 runs, making two All-Star teams and playing in four World Series.
"I didn't even answer the phone when it rang," Sidhu said of the call.
It was 8:30 in the morning and Sidhu is a college kid and college kids don't rush into mornings any more than they rush to class at 8 a.m. Might as well, Sidhu thought later, listen to the message.
"Hi, Harmen. This is Tino Martinez. Give me a call."