I’d rather be in Philadelphia, which is convenient, since I am.

The Phillies-Mets game didn’t waste time being entertaining, as Charlie Manuel got booted on the game’s first play, a Jimmy Rollins “groundout.” Luis Castillo made a terrific grab and bounced a throw to first; the ball had not yet risen from the dirt when Rollins hit the bag, but Joe West was still in line for cheeseteaks up at Tony Luke’s and blew the call (I say this having seen the replay the several times).

And something else I never thought I’d see – the whole crowd going nuts for Pat Burrell, who hit the two-run homer that has made it 3-0 Phillies in the middle of the fourth. It’s so easy to regain this city’s love: According to the ‘ game notes, Burrell is second in the NL in batting average dating back to July 2 (.362); as of tonight he joins Barry Bonds and Chipper Jones as the three active players with the most career home runs against the Mets (38).

This post will no doubt update several times.

Update: For example, Carlos Beltran just broke up J.D. Durbin’s perfect game with no outs in the fifth. Durbin has also set a career high for strikeouts with six.

Update 2: Beltran scored, and pitcher Brian Lawrence got himself an RBI to make it 3-2. But now let’s talk about cheesesteaks again.

It’s great that CBP has the real stuff (both Tony Luke’s and Rick’s), but I truly cannot fathom why hundreds of people wait in line to get ’em. I mean, I’ve driven 30 miles out of the way to get to my favorite sausage pizza, and have also paid some 80 bucks in shipping to have Jim’s delivered overnight. But stand there for three innings? I got myself a slice of chicken parmesan from Peace A Pizza in 10 seconds, and it was actually quite good.

Meanwhile, it’s now 4-2: Utley has homered in his big return (above).

Update 3: It’s 5-2 Phils, but Jorge Sosa struck out Chris Coste with the bases loaded to end the sixth. On strike 1, Coste’s follow-through sent his bat flying into the arms of a first-row photographer. “Can he keep it?,” you could see the usher asking. The answer was no, prompting a nearby child to throw up his arms, apparently outraged that a player would want his fully intact bat returned to him for the next pitch.

Update 4: Utley added a double and it’s 6-2. And since there’s no way I’m walking two levels and 20 sections for a photo (plus my cell phone camera sucks), let me tell you about my favorite sign, an old-fashioned bedsheet-with-block-letters reading “GENERIC FAN GROUP” – a much-deserved dig at all the cheering sections (“Sal’s Pals,” “Howard’s Homers, “The Coste Guard”) that have sprouted since the Wolf Pack.

Update 5: It’s 9-2, with Tad Iguchi (who still draws a press corps of at least a half a dozen) chipping in a pinch-hit two-run homer. His teammates greet him in the dugout with mock-solemn Japanese bows. Utley is a triple short of hitting for the cycle and the Phillies now have 17 hits.

Sorry, as I know a lot of Mets fans read this blog, but I’m especially pleased that one guy in particular will be unhappy with this game – the one two spots in front of me at the Starbucks in the Walt Whitman rest stop on the Turnpike. For some reason he insisted on waiting for the coffee to “finish brewing,” a request that not only seems unnecessary (doesn’t his home coffeemaker have a “pause and serve?”) but confounded the counter girl so much that she had to pour and dump two cups.

Oh, and for some reason, in addition to Mr. Met, Brutus Buckeye is here (along with the Michigan State, Western Kentucky, University of Nebraska, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Hurricanes and Baltimore Orioles mascots). Actually, I think I rode an elevator with them in their street clothes.

Phinal Phillies Update (while the Mets fans talk amongst themselves down in the comments): Jayson Werth is 9-for-9 with a BB over the last two days, a modern club record.

Oh, and Howard Eskin is Lionel Luthor.