DETROIT -- Talk about having a tough act to follow.
Before even getting a chance to take his hacks in the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby on Monday night, Pirates outfielder Jason Bay was forced to sit idly by as Phillies slugger Bobby Abreu obliterated the previous Derby record for home runs in a round.
"As if I wasn't nervous enough to begin with," Bay said, chuckling. "I'm sitting there, and he's putting up 15, 16, 20 of them. And I'm thinking, 'Oh, my.'"
Oh, my, indeed.
By the time Abreu was done thrilling the Comerica Park crowd with one tape-measure shot after another, he'd gone deep 24 times, nine more than the record for a round set by 2004 Derby champ Miguel Tejada at Minute Maid Park.
Bay walked to the plate already in a deep hole. Unfortunately for the Bucs' All-Star, he never came close to digging out. In fact, he barely got his shovel dirty.
With the Detroit crowd still buzzing over Abreu's assortment of tape-measure long balls, Bay quickly used his complement of 10 outs without ever clearing the fences. He was shut out in about the same amount of time it took Abreu to be mobbed by several country mates' wrapped in a Venezuelan flag during the middle of a 68-pitch first round.
"I was nervous watching [Abreu]," said Bay. "But when I stepped in the box I felt very normal. I can't blame the nerves for this."
Bay was the first Pirates player to participate in the Home Run Derby since Barry Bonds in 1990. He was the first Bucs participant to be shutout in a home run contest since Bobby Bonilla in 1988.
Although disappointed that he wasn't able to go deep at least once -- his best shot hit the fence in left field -- Bay wasn't going to let the disappointing showing ruin his first trip to the All-Star Game.
"Certainly, I didn't want to put up a goose egg," said Bay. "But I have to take it for what it was. It was just an exhibition. I'm glad I had a chance to participate."
Bay, representing Canada in the first Home Run Derby to be divided along national lines, was the lone contestant out of eight to come away empty-handed. Hee-Seop Choi (5) of Korea, Andruw Jones (5) of the Netherlands (Curacao), American Mark Teixeira (2) and Bay were eliminated in the first round.
Abreu, Dominican David Ortiz (17), Panamanian Carlos Lee (11) and Puerto Rican Ivan Rodriguez (7) advanced to the second round. Abreu outslugged the hometown favorite Rodriguez, 11-3, in the final round.
Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.