Bay set for first All-Star appearance

Bay set for first All-Star appearance

PITTSBURGH -- Jason Bay prides himself on being a complete player, so it's only fitting that the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder will be doing more than just swinging for the fences when baseball's brightest stars gather together in Detroit later this month.

Bay, who earlier in the weekend was plucked to represent his native Canada in the reformatted Century 21 Home Run Derby, was chosen Sunday as Pittsburgh's lone representative on the 2005 National League All-Star team.

"I'm honored," said Bay, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. "I knew there was a possibility but it's something that until someone calls you and talks to you, you never know."

"It's been a pretty good two years for me, as far as my rookie of the year and now this. It's more than I could have ever imagined."

The All-Star Game, to be held at Detroit's Comerica Park on Tuesday, July 12 at 8 p.m. ET, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International.  ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

Bay has eschewed the dreaded sophomore slump to become one of the top outfielders in the Senior Circuit. Entering action Sunday, Bay was tied for first among NL outfielders in runs (57), third in hits (98) and doubles (22), fifth in batting average (.311), sixth in slugging percentage (.562) and on-base percentage, and 10th in home runs (15).

"It is important for any year to back up a good year, so people aren't going to say you got lucky, especially after your rookie year," said Bay.

"Everyone says there's a sophomore jinx. But I'm not up there trying to prove anybody wrong, or disprove the jinx or anything. I'm just going out there to try and build on what I did last year and this season."

In addition to his contributions as the Bucs' top offensive threat, Bay has also displayed impressive glove work while splitting time between left field and center field. Bay is the only Pirates player to appear in every game this season.

I'm extremely proud of him, we're very happy for him," said Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon. "It's a well-deserved award."

"It's good for him, I'm sure his family is really proud of him. All of us in the Pirate organization are extremely proud. I think he'll represent us very well."

Bay was informed of his selection to the All-Star team by McClendon prior to the Pirates' win Sunday in Milwaukee. The laidback Bay was able to keep his emotions in check, but he could not completely hide his enthusiasm.

"I'm not a real jump-up-and-down type guy," said Bay. "They did tell me I had to wipe the grin off my face by the time I left the office. I had a huge smile. I called my wife and parents.

"Once the game got started, you kind of focus on what you've got to do."

Bay went 1-for-4 with a run and an RBI on Sunday. His leaping catch at the left-field fence in the sixth inning to rob Brady Clark of a home run was key in helping the Bucs overcome a six-run deficit on the way to an 11-10 win.

All-Star Game 2005

Bay is one of nine outfielders on the NL roster. Bobby Abreu of the Phillies, Carlos Beltran of the Mets and Jim Edmonds of the Cardinals are the starters. Bay, Arizona's Luis Gonzalez, Atlanta's Andruw Jones, Florida's Miguel Cabrera, Milwaukee's Carlos Lee, and San Francisco's Moises Alou are the reserves.

Bay is the first Pirates outfielder to be selected to NL All Star team since Brian Giles represented the Bucs in 2001. Coincidently, Bay was one of three players Pittsburgh received from the Padres when Giles was shipped to San Diego in August 2003.

Bay, a native of Trail, British Columbia, will be one of eight players to participate in the Century 21 Home Run Derby on July 11. In an effort to boost the profile of the inaugural 16-team World Baseball Classic in March of 2006, the format of the Derby has been altered to feature sluggers from eight different countries.

"Obviously, doing anything for your country, it's a little different because you have a whole country to represent rather than a team or organization," said Bay. "Win or lose, I think it's just the recognition and I'm honored to do it."

Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.