SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Ten years after passing Hank Aaron on MLB's career home run list in a San Francisco Giants' uniform, Barry Bonds arrived at the team's spring training camp in a new front office role and said "the timing is just right'' for him to renew his ties with the organization.
A day after the Giants announced that they had signed Bonds to a multiyear contract as a special adviser to CEO Larry Baer, Bonds answered questions from the media at Scottsdale Stadium for almost 20 minutes. He expressed a desire to perpetuate the organization's winning tradition in the same way that his godfather, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and his late father, Bobby, once did.
"I'm from San Francisco,'' Bonds said. "I was raised there. And I want to help our kids become Giants -- and good ones -- and keep our tradition alive.
"The San Francisco community is my family. I ride my bike there every day. I see everyone along the roads and they're awesome to me and my family. The timing is just right. Sometimes you need to get away from the game and regroup and think about all that's gone on. You need time to mature and realize what's best for you. I've been away for quite some time, and I really feel like this is what I'm supposed to be doing.''
Bonds, 52, broke Aaron's career home run record when he hit No. 756 off Washington's Mike Bacsik in August 2007. But his tenure with the Giants' franchise reached an unceremonious end when former CEO Peter Magowan and team management chose not to re-sign him after the season.
Bonds was under investigation for his role in the BALCO steroids case at the time, and he was convicted on a felony charge of obstruction of justice in 2011. In April 2015, the conviction was overturned on appeal.
Bonds spent a week in Scottsdale as a special spring training instructor in 2014. But it was his only appearance in a Giants uniform before his return to the organization Wednesday.
In his new role as an advisor to Baer, Bonds will be an ambassador for the team, help Giants hitting coach Hensley "Bam Bam'' Meulens as needed and tutor hitters in the minor-league system.
"My time in baseball has come and gone, and my time now is to help others,'' Bonds said. "This is (the players') house. I've had my time and I have to move out like everyone else does, and I'm OK with that.''
While the Giants have yet to make any specific announcements, Bonds' return to the organization is expected to lead to a bronze statue outside AT&T Park, a spot on the Giants' Walk of Fame and a ceremony to retire his No. 25 jersey.
Bonds' prospects of reaching the Baseball Hall of Fame have improved in recent years. He polled a personal high of 53.8 percent in the latest balloting and has five more years to reach the requisite 75 percent threshold required for induction. But he declined to speculate on his chances for election to Cooperstown.
"I don't really even answer that question anymore, because I don't know even how to answer it,'' Bonds said. "To keep talking about it really doesn't do anyone any good."
Bonds spent the 2016 season as hitting coach for the Miami Marlins before the team fired him in October. He said he prefers his current multidimensional role with the Giants to full-time coaching.
"I like this role better," he said. "I like to be able to roam. I want to be able to help the young guys coming up in the organization and the guys who are here in the organization. I'm here for whatever Bam Bam wants me to do. If he thinks there's a player I can talk to, then I'll go based on that."
One San Francisco regular said he welcomes the idea of Bonds as an additional voice in the organization.
"You're talking about a guy who's arguably the greatest hitter of all time,'' said second baseman Joe Panik. "I'm looking forward to chatting with him. If I can pick up even one thing, it would be a blessing."