"I knew as time went on -- after I took the job -- that there were going to have to be a lot of innovations, a lot of change," said Selig, who took over as acting Commissioner in 1992 before being officially named Commissioner in '98. "The world was changing dramatically. And I'm proud of the way that we have changed. All the way to our own network, MLB.com, all the clubs' local rights and national rights. I think we've made all of the adjustments that we should have made. It's a lot different today than it was in 1992, in every way."
Joe Torre, who is MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, came to the event to support Selig. He reflected on how much things have changed.
"I'll tell you what -- when I was a kid growing up, you could only watch road games," Torre said. "I felt very lucky. We had three teams in [New York]. I thought everybody had this kind of deal. To know where the game has gone … [Selig] kept the game of baseball on the forefront, where it was good for the game. There are so many more games available to the fans. The fans flock to the ballpark, and I think this World Series is an exclamation point to let you know that you don't necessarily have to be the Yankees or Red Sox. You have a chance. If you know how to spend your money, you have a chance to get to the big dance."
Nobody in 1992 could have predicted the way the game is broadcast today, so Selig said he will not try to predict how things will look in 20 years.
"When I look at the difference between 1992 and the present," Selig said, "I think somebody, whether it's [Commissioner-elect] Rob Manfred or … 20 years from now they're going to say, 'Wow, what a great difference.' Because the potential for this game at all levels of the media is huge. Time will tell. There was no way to forecast two-plus decades ago, so I wouldn't try to do that now."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.