The new Barry? 

May, 19, 2006
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Is Barry Bonds just in a deep slump that will end soon, or is it time for us to adjust to a Barry who doesn't hit home runs as if he were playing a video game with all the codes?

After another homerless night Friday, Bonds remained stuck at 713, but more tellingly, at just five this season. We're used to Bonds hitting home runs at a terrific clip, but he's averaging less than one a week this year. Seventy-five players have hit more home runs than Bonds this season. Teammate Pedro Feliz has five just since Barry's last homer.

Bonds also has hit just 10 home runs the past two seasons. Obviously, that total is way down because he missed almost all of last season. But injuries are part of the aging process and even the greatest players get old, often quite suddenly. Hank Aaron went from 40 home runs at age 39 to 20 homers the next season, 12 the next and 10 in his final year at age 42. Babe Ruth hit 34 at age 38, 22 homers at age 40 and retired abruptly with just six at age 41.

Jim Caple | email

ESPN Senior Writer
Author of "The Devil Wears Pinstripes" and winner of a Sports Emmy. Reported from 17 World Series, 9 Olympics, 6 continents.
ESPN's Pedro Gomez covered the Oakland A's home and away nearly every day from 1992-97 for the San Jose Mercury News and Sacramento Bee and then became the national baseball writer and later a general columnist at the Arizona Republic before becoming an ESPN bureau reporter in 2003.