Asked by the New York Times’ Deborah Solomon to explain the 2007 Cubs’ woes, manager Lou Piniella replies, “I don’t know. I’ve been here a few months.”  And while the team’s troubles cannot be blamed on off-season acquisition Ted Lilly — terribly efficient in last night’s 4-1 dispatch of the Padres and the Sultan Of Sloth — Piniella has more definitive answers for a few of Solomon’s queries.

As the manager of the Chicago Cubs, you were suspended this month after a very public meltdown in which you stormed out of the dugout and kicked dirt on the umpire. But aren™t temper tantrums by baseball managers a venerable American tradition?

You know what? They probably want the mangers to be more like Stepford wives. If that™s what they want, that™s O.K. Times have changed. My kicking-dirt episodes are over. You can put them in the archives.

What do you find so satisfying about kicking dirt on another person, a practice you™ve been known to favor since you managed the Yankees in the ™80s?

My mentor, Billy Martin, did it. And Earl Weaver did it. I™ve kicked dirt more out of dissatisfaction than anything else. When I was informed that kicking dirt on somebody can be termed as degrading ” you know, I never thought of it that way.

It might be nice if baseball moved into the future by including more women in its ranks. Do you think a woman could be a good manager?

If she had a good bench coach, why not? I would think she would need a good hardened professional baseball guy that would help her with the x™s and o™s during the ballgame. Someone who knew the intricacies in and out of the game.

Plenty of women already know the intricacies of the game.

I™m not sure of that. I think some of the sportswriter women probably think they do.