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Grading The 2011 Cardinals As A Third Grade Class

Tony La Russa runs a tight ship at the Saint Louis Cardinals Academy (K-8). Their finest class is this year's graduating third grade class, taught by Mr. Mark McGwire and Mr. Dave Duncan.

Tony La Russa sits behind his desk. On the wall behind him hangs a crochet sign reading, "You Put the PAL in Principal!!!" Former student Craig Paquette made it for him. There is a brief knock on his door before it swings open. Third grade teachers Mark McGwire and Dave Duncan enter.

"Dave, Mark, thank you both for joining me," says La Russa. "I'm told we have a real class of winners down there in the third grade!"

"Yeah, but we got some real losers, too!" says Duncan, spitting Kodiak juice into La Russa's trash can. "You hear about that little wiener Tallet? Kid is about as useful as a laundromat in a Polish neighborhood."

"And don't get me started on that Patterson kid. Can't even tie his shoes without making a mess of himself," opines McGwire.

"Hey, it's not all bad," counters La Russa. "Here, I got their final report cards. Lets go over them, with your notes."

Mr McGwire's Class:

Yadier Molina A- (Teacher's Note: After some struggles early, this has been Yadier's finest school year to date. We look forward to many more Molinas joining the school.)

Albert Pujols A (Despite failing 75% of his tests the first six weeks of the school year, Albert still managed to bring his GPA up to 4.0, as always. Please don't leave.)

Skip Schumaker C (Skip is the most average kid in third grade, but he tries really hard, so there's that. Skip still needs to work on not dropping his books while in the hallway. Or while seated, which is rather remarkable.)

Ryan Theriot D+ (Ryan does not belong in this kind of school going forward. He seemed more comfortable rolling around in the dirt than in being a competent student. Though Ryan failed nearly every test, he still believes he is a great student. Ryan eats crayons.)

Daniel Descalso C+ (Daniel is basically exactly like his friend Skip, except he's not constantly dropping his books.)

Matt Holliday A (Matt had another great year, despite some attendance issues. We are concerned about Matt's home life as many of his absences were suspicious—hurting his hand while not doing anything, for instance, and then recently "a moth flew into his ear." We have reported Mr. and Mrs. Holliday to the Department of Human Services.)

Colby Rasmus C+ (Before transferring to his new school in Canada, Colby was a perfectly fine student, though he showed flashes of greatness while coloring. He refused to learn cursive, however. Colby did not play well with others.)

Lance Berkman A (Lance has had a great year and is a great kid. We will miss Lance next year, when he moves into his new, more expensive school that will probably fall apart in a year or two.)

[NOTE: Lance Berkman has signed a one year, $12 extension, per the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and will continue to be enrolled in the academy.]

Jon Jay B+ (Jon did whatever the third grade equivalency of playing center field is reasonably well, and we look forward to Jon winning the grade school equivalency of a batting title next year.) (This is getting hard.)

David Freese C+ (David had another above-average, accident-prone school year. David really needs to stay off the new climbing wall in our gym.)

Allen Craig A- (Allen has been a godsend. Homework is always in on time, he does well on tests; he even helps clean the blackboards without being prompted.)

Rafael Furcal B- (Rafael has been great since transferring from California. Rafael was put onto Ryan Theriot's science fair team and really helped to clean up the mess that Ryan had made. I had never seen a kid make so many errors on a science project before Ryan Theriot came into our lives! Rafael helped fix that, though.)

Nick Punto C+ (Nick did very well when he decided to attend school, which was not very often.)

Tyler Greene D (Tyler got off to a rough start the first day of school, when he managed to get his head stuck in the monkey bars. Tyler's year somehow went downhill from there.)

Gerald Laird C (Gerald did exactly what we asked of him, which was very little.)

Tony Cruz C (Tony did exactly what we asked of him, which was even less than what we asked of Gerald.)

Corey Patterson F (Corey is repeating the third grade for a fifth straight year. It might be time to consider sending Corey to a special school, or perhaps no school at all. The world needs ditch diggers.)

Mark Hamilton I (Mark seemed like he did better than he was doing. Then he disappeared.)

Pete Kozma I (We are still not sure how Pete made it through our school's selection process, but we were very happy to see him leave and never return.)

Andrew Brown I (Who?)

Matt Carpenter I (Matt was obsessed with taking a walk in between every class. After one too many walks, he never returned.)

Shane Robinson I (Shane is not missed.)

Adron Chambers I (Adron was a welcome addition to the classroom at the end of the school year. We look forward to his return and more opportunities next year.)

Mr Duncan's Class

Chris Carpenter B (Chris's year wasn't quite up to his standards, but he still led the class in attendance. Chris needs to work on his feelings, as he often went off on classmates who completed the Slylock Fox comics before he had a chance to.)

Kyle Lohse B- (Kyle had a great school year. We are happy Kyle is no longer allowed to ride his dirt bike to school.)

Ryan Franklin F (Ryan threw up all over the classroom on the very first day of class. After that, it only got worse.)

Jaime Garcia B- (Jaime had a fine school year, but needs to work on staying awake all the way til eighth period.)

Jake Westbrook C- (Jake had severe attendance issues, often leaving right after fifth period. Jake is suited just fine as the worst student in the class, but that seems like an awful waste of tuition.)

Jason Motte A+ (Jason had a really incredible school year, even though he ate all of our paste the first day.)

Miguel Batista D (Miguel was our slowest student, and also one of the worst, despite being 43 years old and in the third grade. Miguel excelled in our creative writing course, though all of his plot devices involved an intentional walk.)

Eduardo Sanchez A (Eduardo was on his way to being a real leader in the classroom until he slipped on the playground and broke his arm. We have high hopes for Eduardo next year.)

Marc Rzepczynski C (Marc is from Canada, so we expected him to be a little slow.)

Fernando Salas B+ (Fernando had a nice year, but we are concerned about his development in the future.)

Edwin Jackson B+ (Edwin had a fine few months since moving from Chicago. It is unfortunate he will not be back next year, but that Westbrook kid will be.)

Lance Lynn B+ (Lance will be a great student, once we figure out what in the hell we are doing with him.)

Octavio Dotel B (Octavio sure has gone to a lot of schools.)

Kyle McClellan C+ (Kyle learned how to juggle this year! Good for Kyle!)

Mitchell Boggs B (Mitchell was voted "Best Beard in the third grade" in what was a suspiciously crowded field. Thinking these kids are on the drugs.)

Arthur Rhodes C- (Arthur somehow has gone to even more schools than Octavio!)

Trever Miller D+ (Trever was the nicest kid in the class. Couldn't pass a test to save his life, though.)

Brian Tallet F (Brian locked himself in the janitor's closet and was never seen again.)

Brandon Dickson I (Brandon did well, I think? I don't know. It's hard for me to track keep all these kids and their stupid "new age" names. "Brandon"? "Bryan"? Two "Kyles"? Whatever happened to "Bruce"? Or "Gary"?!?

Bryan Augenstein I (Bryan is very tall.)

Raul Valdes I (I don't know what we were thinking letting Raul into this school.)

P.J. Walters I (PJ just keeps showing up for a few classes a year. Kind of sick of him.)

Maikel Cleto I (Maikel writes REALLY fast, but has no idea what he is writing.)

"This is a really intriguing class, you guys," La Russa mentions. "Lets see how they do on their finals this week... We may be able to extend the school year into October."