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Columbia’s Minor League Baseball Team Will be Called the Fireflies

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Columbia’s Minor League Baseball team finally has a name.

City leaders and the team ownership from Hardball Capital held a news conference to unveil the name of the city’s Columbia team as the Columbia Fireflies.

The Fireflies, according to the news release from the team, comes from the synchronous fireflies that fill the Congaree each spring.

The inspiration for the “Fireflies” name comes from a particular species of Firefly—the Phot—and the unique behavior of that firefly in the nearby floodplain forest in Congaree National Park. Each spring, as baseball season begins, the Photuris frontalis perform a wonderful and mysterious light show. For a few weeks, thousands of these fireflies synchronize their flashing each night; they light as one, in unison. The Photuris frontalis is the only species of firefly in North America known to put on this sort of display, and the mass synchronization that occurs on the banks of the Congaree is one of only six places on Earth where such a spectacle is known to take place.

The team’s owner, Jason Freier, said not only do fireflies bring back warm childhood memories of carefree summer nights — the kind of atmosphere they hope to create at the games — this unique species of fireflies also represents unity, something he hopes the team and development will bring to Columbia.

“We also thought that the theme is a good metaphor for what we’re trying to develop with Bull Street and Spirit Communications Park. We’re creating a place for everyone in the Midlands to come together,” Hardball Capital CEO Jason Freier said.

The city asked for input from the community on the new name. According to officials, they received more than 2,300 entries. The Fireflies, according to Freier, came up in several entries. Many other entries pointed to Columbia’s famously hot heat. However, team officials say they plan to emphasize the “fire” found in its name while noting the unity these synchronous bugs represent.

The team, formerly the Savannah Sand Gnats, made the move up to Columbia earlier this year ahead of next year’s opening of the new Spirit Communications Park on Bull Street.

Mobile users, check out a photo gallery on what Columbia’s new ball park will look like next year.

Construction on the park began in 2015. However, officials say the entire Bull Street project will take about 20 years to complete.

With the name of the team finally unveiled, the team now turns its attention to marketing. Children from the Boys and Girls Club were also on hand at today’s event modeling items that will soon be offered in local stores.

The Sand Gnats, a New York Mets affiliate, will remain in the South Atlantic League when they begin play in Columbia.