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The USA, behind homers from Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones, beat Mexico 2-0 in their first WBC game today.

And the Dominican Republic, with a high-powered offense led by homers from David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre (one of those a long bomb off Carlos Zambrano), opened with an 11-5 win over Venezuela.

Both of these games were on various ESPN channels today, and I watched parts of both of them.

So why do I feel like I'd rather have seen the Cubs' 6-5 loss to the Rangers?

Or this game, a must-have-been-entertaining 22-12 Marlins win over the Nationals? (And can you imagine sitting through a three-hour-and-fifty-minute exhibition game?)

I dunno. I know I'm supposed to feel national pride in the USA, but watching that game -- attended by 32,727, about 2/3 of capacity at the former BOB (now Chase Field) in Phoenix -- it felt like watching a glorified exhibition game. The Venezuela/DR game was a little better -- the crowd was more enthusiastic, but it still felt a little out of place; why were these two countries, so close to one of the WBC sites in Puerto Rico, assigned to play in Florida?

Maybe it'll be more exciting in later rounds. Maybe. I know there are those here who are pumped to see this tournament.

I'd have been a lot more interested if it had been scheduled in November. Right now, it seems like an intrusion on the normal progression of spring training.

As for the Cub loss, Greg Maddux threw two scoreless innings, though he uncharacteristically walked three; John Mabry hit a two-run double, and Brian Boehringer showed us why he didn't pitch last year -- an inning, four hits, a walk, two homers (David Dellucci, Phil Nevin) and three runs allowed. I hope they'll at least give him planefare home.

This week's edition of Baseball America praises Matt Murton, saying he's got the bat, and speed, and the makeup, to be a breakout type of player this year. That'd be nice.