July 13th, 2016
As most of you know already, the Columbia Fireflies are the new Single-A affiliate of the New York Mets, moving over from Savannah and Historic Grayson Stadium to Columbia, South Carolina, a city that hasn’t had Baseball for over 12 seasons.
Last summer, it was announced that the team was going to be called the “Fireflies” and that they were going to use neon green and navy blue as their color scheme. As I mentioned a few months ago in my first post, I absolutely love this scheme, as it is very underused in Professional Baseball, and it is fairly original.
Their home ballpark is “Sprint Communications Ballpark”, named after Sprint Communications, and designed by Populous, otherwise known as HOK Sports Venues, and quite honestly, this was the only corporate branding I saw. Literally. There were only six wall advertisements (which were all bunched together, to make the wall look clean), and there were four advertisements around the scoreboard, and one Budweiser sign is right-center.
I cannot tell you how enjoyable it was to watch a ballgame in a stadium that didn’t have 25 ads on the wall and who knows how many around various parts of the park. This is truly a rarity around MiLB stadiums. After all, when I went to Long Island to see the Independent Long Island Ducks, there were over forty, yes FORTY advertisements, and the independence from advertisements didn’t end there. Instead of the “Foxwoods Casino Club,” it was the “Club Lounge,” instead of the “Party City Dance Cam,” it was just the “Dance Cam.” Very nice.
Of course, this is their inaugural season, and this might not always be the case, and this wasn’t the reason I came to Columbia, but I thought it made for a good baseball game experience.
Now, to that main event, the game. The Fireflies were playing the Delmarva Shorebirds (to all of those about to search up “Delmarva,” I’ll save you thirty seconds, it’s a large peninsula on the East Coast of the United States, occupied by most of Delaware and portions of Maryland and Virginia, and are the Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, and they play in the South Atlantic League, which splits it’s season into two portions. Basically, you can make it into the postseason if you win the first half or the second half.
The Fireflies are 41-48 with both parts of the season combined, and are now 5-13 in the second half. While the postseason doesn’t look like a reality in their inaugural season, attendance has been pretty good, they average around 3,000 fans per night, and they’ve sold a considerable amount of season tickets.
If you are ever in Charleston, Greenville, Charlotte, Durham, Myrtle Beach or any other area in the Carolinas or northern Georgia, I really suggest attending a Columbia Fireflies game. It’s a very good atmosphere, and the fans are pretty into the game. Additionally, they many different seating types throughout the ballpark. There is a berm in left and right center, a table setup down the left field line by the bullpens, and best traditional seating throughout the ballpark, including 16 luxury suites and a 7,000 square-foot Club Lounge (which is air conditioned, which is quintessential considering temperatures reach 100 degrees in the middle of the summer).
For those with kids, there is a play area by the left field foul pole. I’m not entirely sure what it is called, but there are inflatables, fun games, and a big blown up “Mason,” the mascot of the Columbia Fireflies, which kind of reminds me of the Phillie Phinatic in Philadelphia.
I didn’t take a big look around the concourse, but it seemed that all of the traditional ballpark fare, in addition to some local eats were available. As far as shopping, the Mason Jar Team Store was one of the biggest minor league team stores I’ve seen around. There is plenty of helpful staff that is ready to help. Additionally, if you are not in the area, there is an online shop on their official website here.
If you have any questions about the Fireflies, email me at Niko@MetsPlus.com, or tweet me @NikoMetsPlus, or contact the Fireflies directly through their website.