'I need help and I'm going to get it'

Updated: October 31, 2004, 11:28 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals fired hitting coach Mitchell Page, but not because of St. Louis' poor hitting in its World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Page told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he will enter an alcohol treatment facility near his Oakland, Calif., home this week after he was let go on Thursday by Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty and manager Tony La Russa.

St. Louis scored only 12 runs and hit .190 in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox.

Page served as the Cardinals hitting coach for 3½ seasons and told the newspaper that he declined a minor league position with the club. He said his departure from the Cardinals was a mutual decision between him and the team.

"I need help and I'm going to get it," Page told the newspaper. "I don't want a lot of speculation going around about why I left and what was going on. I have an alcohol problem and I'm going to get treatment for it.

"I'm going to take the heat and the blame and admit I'm an alcoholic. I screwed up."

The newspaper said Jocketty declined comment, but said he might address the issue in upcoming days.

Team sources and Page indicated to the Post Disptach that his personal problems strained relationships with players, fellow coaches and La Russa, and that was the reason for the dismissal, not the Cardinals' struggling offense.

The Cardinals led the National League with a .278 average and 855 runs this season after finishing second in both categories last year.

Page said that the club approached him about his drinking before this season and that he felt his job was in jeopardy before the postseason.

"I knew I couldn't screw up and I screwed up," he said. "I gave the Cardinals the best they ever had as a hitting coach. But I knew it was coming."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press