Should the Muir-PHS boys basketball game scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. move to a different site?
That’s the question that comes to mind when you expect this particular game to sell out hours before tipoff. Obviously I damn well know it’s way too late to make any kind of venue change give the game is just one day away, and logistically it would probably be a nightmare. But I wonder what fans think about the idea.
Muir and PHS each was given 400 tickets for pre-sale purchase this week on a first-come, first-serve basis. Obviously each team gets one side of the bleachers, and the north end of the gym presumably will be general admission to whoever can scoop up tickets for what promises to be a Pacific League smackdown for the ages.
In the past, I’ve made it a priority to arrive early any time I cover a Muir-PHS game. Granted, that’s only in football and basketball, but I arrive early nonetheless. I didn’t need four years as a reporter covering this rivalry to know that these games always sellout. Records and/or playoff implications are always thrown out the window when these teams meet. The atmosphere is always electric, the blood is pumping and nerves are high.
You remember last year when Muir almost knocked off Pasadena for the first time in almost seven years? The Mustangs were up by around 16 points before losing by single digits? Pasadena went on to sweep the series yet again en route to its ninth consecutive league championship. Muir also made a nice run as the third-place team, reaching the finals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5A playoffs.
But you can’t overlook the significance of this particular game coming up Friday and what’s riding on this game. Sure, these teams will met again down the road, but this game most certainly will set the stage and the winner will have all the swagger heading into the second and final meeting.
And as I remind you of this you have to ask yourself, when was the last time Muir was undefeated in league heading into its biggest game of the season against its bitter rival?
Muir is 17-1 overall with its lone loss to Village Christian in the championship game of the La Salle/Temple City Tournament. It was the Mustangs’ third straight tournament championship appearance.
Pasadena is 13-5 overall with losses coming to powerhouse teams in the Bay area. That Pasadena schedules tough during nonleague and seldom plays area teams during its nonleague portion of the season is a surprise to no one.
Muir and PHS are both 6-0 in league.
So with so much riding on this game, and the anticipation building by the minute after Muir dismantled Crescenta Valley, you have to know that tickets for this game will be the hottest ticket in town. The game will sellout and there will be hundreds of fans left outside who won’t catch the game. I’m not exaggerating when I say HUNDREDS of fans will be left outside. Trust me, I’ve seen it.
So would it make sense to move the game to, say, Pasadena City College? Or am I just a crazy lunatic typing away?
Is the rivalry better off remaining where it always has been: PHS and Muir High? You can’t replicate the intimacy of a high school gym, the colors of the home team and the familiarity of dressing in your locker room and running out on your home court.
You can make arguments for both, I guess. But one thing I know for sure, I already have my seat reserved.