Year In Review : 2011 National League
Off the field...
A 9.1-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the east of Japan on March 11, killing 15,840 and leaving another 3,926 missing. Tsunami warnings were issued in 50 countries and territories. Emergencies were declared at four nuclear power plants affected by the quake.
On April 29th an estimated two billion people watched the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.
The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, the most elaborate Martian exploration vehicle to date, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on November 26th. It was scheduled to land on Mars on August 5, 2012, and it successfully landed there on August 6th, 2012.
In the American League...
At U.S. Cellular Field, May 3rd, Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins pitched the first no-hitter of the season over the Chicago White Sox. Despite walking six batters, he was helped out by three double plays. A fourth-inning home run by Jason Kubel off Edwin Jackson (himself a no-hit pitcher on June 25, 2010) accounted for the game's only run. The game was Liriano's first complete game in 95 Major League starts and the first no-hitter by a Twin since Eric Milton in 1999.
Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees became the 28th member of the 3,000 hit club, homering off David Price in the third inning of the Yankees' 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on July 9th. Jeter became the first player to reach the milestone exclusively as a Yankee, and only the second to do so with a home run, joining Wade Boggs in 1999.
Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers wons his 20th game of the season on August 27th. He was the first Tigers 20-game winner since Bill Gullickson in 1991, and it marked the 44th time in Tigers history that a pitcher had reached 20 wins in a season.
In the National League...
The New York Mets agreed to sell a minority, non-operating investment in the team to David Einhorn, president of Greenlight Capital Inc., for $200 million, pending the completion of exclusive negotiations and approval by Major League Baseball owners. The deal gave him a one-third stake in the team and he has an option to own sixty percent in three years.
Two days of baseball? July 26–27, the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates played a nineteen inning marathon (the longest game in either franchise's history) that ended in the early morning hours.
The New York Mets won 10-9 win over the Cincinnati Reds to complete a four game sweep at Great American Ballpark on July 28th. It was the first sweep of a four game series against the Reds in their entire history.
Around the League...
The defense in the Barry Bonds perjury case rested without calling a single witness to the stand on April 6th. After prosecutors dropped one of the five charges against Bonds, and called 25 witnesses to the stand over 2½ weeks, the defense takes just one minute to present its side. Prosecutors drop the count accusing Bonds of lying to a grand jury in 2003 when he says prior to that season he never takes anything other than vitamins from trainer Greg Anderson. One week later, the jury deciding the federal case against Barry Bonds found him guilty of obstruction of justice. The jury was hung on the three counts of making false declarations during his 2003 testimony before the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) grand jury, resulting in a mistrial.
Commissioner Bud Selig announced that Major League Baseball takes over operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt. The press relesase stated, "Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day to day operations of the club. I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt's ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days. The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future."
World Baseball Classic Inc. announced the introduction of a play-in round for the 2013 World Baseball Classic that allowed twelve new countries to compete for the first time. The new round brings in sixteen teams divided into four pools, and the winner of each pool would advance to play in the World Baseball Classic. Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama and South Africa compete in the play-in round after not winning a game in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. New participants include France, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, New Zealand, Colombia, Nicaragua, Brazil, Israel, Thailand, the Czech Republic and the Philippines.