Barry Bonds' hold over the Giants was broken a long time ago, and now is as good a time as any to prove that.

You know how? By bringing Bonds back into the Giants clubhouse for a bit and letting everybody realize ... he's just another former ballplayer.

He's a great and brilliant one; he's a notorious one; he's an extremely complicated one.

But that was years ago, and now Bonds is just another name from another time.

So the Giants invited Bonds to show up as a guest hitting instructor at Arizona camp in a little over a week.

So of course Bonds accepted and will be greeted with some amount of hoo-ha and media spin-cycle spectacle.

FILE - This Oct. 19, 2010, file photo shows former San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds acknowledging the crowd before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch
FILE - This Oct. 19, 2010, file photo shows former San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds acknowledging the crowd before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, in San Francisco. Bonds is returning to the Giants as a spring training instructor. The Giants say Bonds is expected to arrive during the second week of March 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) ( Jeff Chiu )

So we will be reminded of all previous circus atmospheres in previous Bonds spring training arrivals, back when the entire Giants organization was in his thrall.

Yes, this will be the first time that Bonds serves in any official team capacity since the Giants chose not to bring him back after the 2007 season.

So ... what?

A lot has changed from that anticlimactic exit to now: The Giants have won two championships, Buster Posey has won an MVP, Bonds has faced federal prosecution, and the only players on this roster who remain from September 2007 are Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum.

Maybe Cain, Lincecum, Bonds and Bruce Bochy -- whose first season as Giants manager was Bonds' last as a player -- can reminisce about those final days.

Hey, remember that Pat Misch was the Giants' starting pitcher in Bonds' final major league game? And Dan Ortmeier played first base?

Only feels like 70 years ago.

Meanwhile, since then, as Bonds went through prosecution and the appeals process (after he was convicted on an obstruction charge), Giants management has mostly avoided the subject.

Bonds in semi-purgatory: The all-time Giants and MLB great whose name is rarely uttered and whose achievements are the symbols of a tainted era.

He hasn't been celebrated on the AT&T Park "Wall of Fame," and his record total of 762 career home runs is not quite garishly memorialized.

When Bonds has recently shown up at the park, it has been in a distinctly unofficial capacity -- in the stands, looking smaller, happier and a lot less harried.

Now, the legal process is essentially over, and it seems as though Bonds is looking for things to do.

Why not buzz over to Scottsdale and check in on his old team, maybe see if he can tighten up Pablo Sandoval's swing plane or enlighten Gary Brown?

If you're the Giants, why not bring Bonds in just like they bring in J.T. Snow, Jeff Kent and many others for cameo instructional appearances?

From Posey on down, the Giants understand that there are things Bonds knows about hitting that nobody else in the world knows.

They don't have to pretend he doesn't exist, and they don't have to swoon in apologia for employing a federal target and international emblem of PED use.

Mark McGwire has been working as a hitting instructor for several years -- first with St. Louis, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ryan Braun is in the middle of a $105 million contract. And Bud Selig is still the commissioner.

The Giants were tainted by the era; the whole sport was tainted.

Listen, nobody was tougher on the Giants than I was during their long acquiescence to Bonds; but that era is over now.

Whatever crimes he committed were part and parcel of what was really going on in baseball at the time; whatever role he had was no greater than those who allowed it to happen.

Whatever Bonds benefited from it, the Giants benefited more -- full stadiums, high TV ratings, money flowing everywhere.

But then after Bonds' departure, the Giants figured out a way to actually win championships -- and get the money flowing even faster.

The Giants were embarrassed enough about Bonds to put him in a mini-purgatory, and now they're strong enough to let him come back for a little bit.

He doesn't haunt them any more; he's just another former player who used to be something some time ago.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.

Bonds

All-time home run leader will be a guest instructor next month.