The Columbia Fireflies paid tribute to Prince while helping Midlands children Thursday night, and both the fans and the home team’s bats went crazy.
A crowd of 6.062, the third largest of the season so far at Spirit Communications Park, gathered for the game and tribute, proving that many who heard friends and family were going said “Take me with U!” Little red Corvettes were parked outside for all to admire, and the Fireflies’ staff, all the way up to team President John Katz, wore equally admirable purple shirts and raspberry berets (the kind you’d find in a secondhand store).
Musicians Eddie Bush and The Mayhem performed before the game, entertaining the early-arriving crowd with Prince covers. Between innings, fans joined in the Prince air guitar contest and the “U Got the Look” dance-off, and Fireflies’ staff tossed Prince-themed T-shirts into the stands, making many delirious with excitement. The scoreboards turned purple and showed various tributes, but nothing compared 2 the jerseys worn by the players for the occasion.
As the Fireflies rolled to victory in their specially designed purple jerseys, fans both in the ballpark and elsewhere were bidding to become the permanent owners of the shirts. The auction raised $7,041 for Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter.
Shades of purple were seen everywhere among the crowd, and for those lacking lilac in their wardrobes, the team had “Purple Game” T-shirts for sale. The Fireflies also helped raise awareness and money for Jillian’s Cure, with founder (and Jillian’s mom) Carolyn Nava setting up a booth at the game and a representative from the nonprofit throwing out the first pitch, and supporters given a chance to buy tickets and donate part of the proceeds to the cause.
The Fireflies’ performance on the field had the visiting West Virginia Power asking “Why you wanna treat me so bad?” Every Columbia hitter reached base, and eight of the starters scored runs as the beautiful ones cruised to an 11-2 win. Game: blouses. The fans and players proceeded to party like it was 1999. More photos from the game are posted on the Midlands Anchor Facebook page.
The Fireflies’ current homestand continues through Wednesday, and Thursday night’s events were a sign o’ the times, with numerous special events planned. A full list follows.
Friday, June 10, 2016, 7:05 p.m. vs. West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- FIREWORKS! Presented by Blanchard Cat
- Russian Bar Trio
- Girl Scout Overnight
Saturday, June 11, 2016, 7:05 p.m. vs. West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- Superheroes and Villains Night
Sunday, June 12, 2016, 2:05 p.m. vs. West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- Bark in the Park
- Splash Day
- Postgame Autographs
- Sunrun Sunday presented by Sunrun
Monday, June 13, 2016, 7:05 p.m. vs. Rome Braves (Atlanta Braves)
- Military Monday – $2 off All-Star & Reserved Tickets with Military ID
Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 7:05 p.m. vs. Rome Braves (Atlanta Braves)
- $2 Tuesday – $2 hot dogs, popcorn, fountain sodas
- Flag Day
- Fireflies Beer Tasting featuring Palmetto Brewing Company (requires special tickets, click here for more information)
Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 7:05 p.m. vs. Rome Braves (Atlanta Braves)
- Midlands Meet-up
- Final home game before the all-star break
If you can’t be there in person, you can watch all the action on MiLB.TV. All games are broadcast on WGCV 620 AM, 96.3 and 105.1 FM, ColumbiaFireflies.com, and the TuneIn Radio app.