From one bug to another: Sand Gnats to become Fireflies

Written By:  •  Tuesday, August 4, 2015


When the New York Mets’ South Atlantic League Single-A affiliate moves from Savannah, Georgia, to Columbia, South Carolina, next season, they will drop one bug—the tiny, horrible, razor-fanged Sand Gnat—in favor of one that evokes images of pleasant summer evenings, the firefly.


The Columbia Fireflies’ logo, unveiled this morning, was designed by Sky Design of Atlanta (also responsible for the Fort Wayne TinCaps). It features a stylized lightning bug (as they are known to me) as the primary logo, with alternates including a mason jar (for trapping the bugs), a pair of flames meant to resemble the letters CF, and wordmarks encompassed in streaking bug light.

According to the team, the nickname derives from a rare natural phenomenon that occurs nearby:

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 Fireflies announced the new look with this fancy video:

Cap-City-BombersAs is to be expected with all updated sports logos, the reaction online so far has been mixed, with the most common complaint from locals being that the team did not reprise the identity of Columbia’s previous team, the Capital City Bombers.

I’ll cast my vote in favor of the new look—it’s unique and appropriate to the area without resorting to overt wackiness to get attention.

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Paul Caputo

Paul Caputo is a grown man who collects plastic ice cream helmet sundaes from minor league baseball stadiums because he likes logos that much. He is the author of the first book published by, The Story Behind the Nickname: The Origins of 100 Classic, Contemporary, and Wacky Minor League Baseball Team Names. He can be found on Twitter at @Count2Baseball and he maintains the Countdown to Spring Training on Facebook. Paul is a Philadelphia sports fan, but he's not so bad.