If you thought the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2009 season was a little too good to be true, you may not have been completely wrong — nor cynical. The L.A. Times is reporting that Manny Ramirez, the team's superstar leftfielder, will be suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. When he returns to the team July 3 there will be about half of the 2009 regular season left to play.

“The suspension will cost Ramirez $7.7 million, or roughly 31% of his $25-million salary,” the Times claims. “Players in violation of baseball's drug policy are not paid during suspensions.”

Ramirez issued an apology, which included this statement:

“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy.”

Perhaps, though, the Dodgers truly are off to a miracle season, one

that's bigger than its individual players. Last night they broke a

Major League record for most at-home victories by winning their 13th

consecutive 2009 game at Dodger Stadium without a loss.

Ramirez figured

prominently in that 10-3 effort over the flailing Washington Nationals,

reaching base three times and doubling in a pair of runs, but he wasn't the only key contributor. In fact, lately the Dodgers

have been playing so well and with such a team effort that it's

tempting to believe they could win the pennant without Number 99. Still,

Ramirez's value as a symbol transcends his feats on the field and it

will remain to be seen what the temporary removal of Manny Mania will

have upon his teammates and the city that adores him.

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