We focus on the weaknesses of our heroes and leaders because, whether we admit it or not, we need them to be human like us. Transcending mortality cannot be allowed because there must be a clear line between god and mortal. Zeus punished Prometheus for aspiring to be like the gods, not for trying to bring fire to humanity. And as Prometheus learned the hard way, punishment is meted out as atonement for abstract ideals, not specific offenses.
The fall of the House of A-Rod can be described as a modern day illustration of this idea. Here is a man who seeks to be god-like, a player without equal who can singlehandedly take a team on his back and drag them along with him. But like all who covet godhood, a tragic flaw bars the way. We don’t crucify him for his actions. We crucify him for his aspirations and our expectations.
So, despite my general dislike of Mr. Rodriguez and my general contempt for both him and his actions, I also can’t help but feel sorry that once again another of our heroes has been dragged in front of the gods and found wanting. And as sportswriters, bloggers and fans alike pick at A-Rod the way the gryphon picked at Prometheus’ liver, perhaps we should take a step back and rethink this lesson. After all, this is not so much a story of human frailty as it is an indictment of the gods and their impotence.