The Columbia Fireflies, formerly of the South Atlantic League and Low-A East, and now in the Carolina League, returned affiliated baseball to Columbia, SC. The Kansas City Royals farmhands play their home games at Segra Park in Columbia, SC.
The Savannah Sand Gnats moved to Columbia after the 2015 season, becoming the Fireflies. In both a homecoming and a once-and-future event, the Gnats-turned-Lightning Bugs started their history as a New York Mets' affiliate - as Columbia's previous ball club, the Capital City Bombers, had ended. The affiliation switch to the Royals resulted from MLB's 2021 Minor League Reorganization.
"Fireflies" salutes a particular species of lightning bug, the Photuris frontalis. About the time baseball season starts, thousands of Phots in Congaree National Park synchronize their flashing for a few weeks. It is the only species of firefly in North America known to do so, and there are only six places in the world where this happens.
The Fireflies play Copa de la Diversión Hispanic engagement campaign games as Chicharrones de Columbia (a chicharron is a popular pork-based dish in Mexican cuisine).
- Michael Clair: "The Columbia Fireflies are making your glow-in-the-dark uniform dreams come true", Cut4, mlb.com, January 28, 2016.