If you're a baseball fan, it's about time for announcers and pundits to start talking about "magic numbers." Baseball's magic number is the total of a division leader's wins and/or opponent losses necessary to lock up the title.
There's a magic number for Aaron Martens and the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award, too, and that number is 50 … though it's calculated quite a bit differently than they do it in baseball.
If "The Natural" leads the AOY race by more than 50 points at the end of the Plano Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair, he'll lock up the third AOY crown of his career (he also won in 2005 and 2013).
Martens had a solid, if unspectacular Day 1 with a 5-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 5 ounces. It was good enough for 24th place.
Martens' closest challenger for AOY honors is Justin Lucas, who is having the best year of his young career. Day 1 saw Lucas with a limit of bass weighing 16-4 to put him in 50th place. Coming into the event, Lucas trailed Martens by 69 points.
Four points behind Lucas was Dean Rojas, who had a solid Day 1 at St. Clair. He's 14th with 18-14, so he gained about 10 points on the leader. But that's still not close enough for AMart to hear any footsteps.
The rest of field is too far back to even take seriously when it comes to winning AOY. Brent Ehrler and Jacob Powroznik were 96 points behind Martens coming into the final regular-season event. They're 95th and tied for 17th after Day 1, respectively. It's over for them. Everyone else trails by triple digits.
It's impossible for Martens to lock up AOY today unless he makes the cut and both Lucas and Rojas finish 100th or worse. Still, he can seal the deal on Day 3. "All" he has to do is finish the tournament in 20th place or better. Then it won't matter where Lucas and Rojas finish.
And if you want to calculate Martens' magic number, he must leave St. Clair leading all challengers by 50 AOY points or more. (The winner of the AOY Championship will earn 100 points while the last place finisher gets 51 — a 49-point spread.) That means Lucas must finish at least 20 places ahead of him at St. Clair and/or Rojas must be at least 24 places ahead if they want to keep their AOY quest alive.
Martens' chances of locking up his third AOY on Saturday are very good.
And if you didn't know that Aaron Martens is a runner. You do now. He's running away with AOY.