Over Memorial Day weekend, I loaded the family into the car and headed north by northwest from Jacksonville to pay a visit to Columbia, South Carolina. We had never been to the capital city of South Carolina before, so we figured why not? It helped that some baseball would be played that weekend in the form of the Columbia Fireflies.
There’s actually quite a bit to do in Columbia and we found it to be a pretty neat place. We, however, came for the baseball, and the Fireflies and Segra Park did not disappoint! We attended the May 29, 2021 game against the Augusta GreenJackets, the Low-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. It was fireworks night, so of course we HAD to go so the little one could see some fireworks. She loves them! It was also a celebration that evening of the Fireflies’ new affiliation with the Kansas City Royals, so the Fireflies were decked out in powder blue jerseys. They looked really good!
We really liked Segra Park. It is just the right size for Low-A ball and has fantastic sightlines from pretty much every location.
Some of the Fireflies players seemed familiar. After looking through the lineup, I realized that I had seen a couple of these guys when I went to see the Burlington Royals of the rookie-ball Appalachian League back in 2019 – which feels like way, way longer ago than only two years. Anyway, kind of neat to see these guys at the next level. The name that really jumped out was Jake Means, and he had a great game on that fine evening.
In addition to the awesome fireworks, my daughter also loved – and I mean LOVED – the bouncy house and kids area (see below) that the Fireflies have in the left field corner. Yes, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to going to ballgames in that you should watch the game as that is the actual entertainment you’ve paid for. But, it is tough to deny a kid a chance to bounce around for hours on end. And since mom took the kid, dad was able to spend quality time watching the game with a nice cold one.
One thing to note for anyone going to Segra Park: there is a load of construction going on around the ballpark. It’s not denoted very well on the team website so when you turn up to park, you’ll likely have to wait a lot longer than you might think for a parking spot, especially when it is a game with heavy turnout.
The crowd at Segra Park was great. Friendly, outgoing, diverse, with a good mix of young adults and families. All in all, it was a fun night out for everyone and gave me Minor League Park No. 29 (22 currently active). If you happen to be in the neighborhood, I hope you too will check it out.
As for the rest of the visit to Columbia, it was good. Since the Univ. of South Carolina is located in Columbia, it has a college town vibe to go along with its Old South reputation. Lots of cool bars and eateries line the streets. It also has a good number of old buildings and factories that have been rehabbed and turned into apartments and condos. We spent one of our days hiking at Congaree National Park, located about 15 miles south of the city. It’s incredibly cool to see a protected cypress tree swamp and be able to hike through it. (It wasn’t flooded, so there were no mosquitos, for which we were incredibly thankful.) The park is a very underrated location. And of course, the historical aspect of the city is inescapable. We took a walk around the State Capitol, which is very pretty, but unfortunately remains blighted by monuments and memorials dedicated to racists.
Thanks for the good fun Columbia! We will see you again soon.