The Columbia Fireflies will have a new Major League Baseball affiliate in 2021, to be announced at a later date.
The Fireflies, who began play in Columbia in 2016, have been a Class A affiliate of the New York Mets for more than a dozen years. The Fireflies previously played in Savannah, Ga., where the team was known as the Sand Gnats.
The Mets announced Tuesday that three of their four affiliates will be in the state of New York (Syracuse, Binghamton and Brooklyn) in 2021, with a fourth located at their spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Major league teams are emphasizing geography for their affiliates as part of MLB’s ongoing restructuring of minor league baseball. Earlier this week, the Charleston RiverDogs announced their 15-year affiliation with the New York Yankees would end.
The Fireflies’ home, Segra Park, was named Ballpark of the Decade by Ballpark Digest and is assured of a place in the revamped minor league system, the Fireflies said in a statement. The team said its new affiliation would be announced in the coming weeks.
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Columbia's former minor league team, the Capital City Bombers, was also affiliated with the Mets. The Bombers relocated to Greenville in 2005.
“The Fireflies would like to thank the New York Mets for more than a dozen years of affiliation between Savannah and Columbia, with highlights including five playoff appearances, the 2013 South Atlantic League Championship and our first homegrown player in Spring Valley High School/(University of) South Carolina outfielder, Gene Cone,” the Fireflies said in a statement. “Our Mets affiliation also brought us players like two-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL Rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom, Steven Matz, Dominic Smith and Andrés Giménez.”