Take Me Out to the Ballgame

August 31, 2016

CIU Night with the Columbia Fireflies

By Michael A. Lanier and Bob Holmes

The Columbia International University student body knows how to cheer loudly – even when the home team is not the CIU Rams.

This time the home team was the Columbia Fireflies playing in their inaugural season as the capital city’s newest Class-A minor league baseball team, an affiliate of the New York Mets. The students were joined by CIU faculty, staff and a few alumni to make up a large cheering section of about 300 people Aug. 30 at the new Spirit Communications Park in downtown Columbia.

“I loved the game, and I loved the fellowship,” said sophomore Daniel Wolff among the CIU fans located just behind first base.  

Freshmen such as David Atkinson said the game was an opportunity to get to know upperclassmen

“I enjoyed hanging out with my new friends,” Atkinson said.

As the large video screen beyond the left-center field fence rolled the names of organizations in attendance, an especially loud cheer went up when CIU’s named appeared.

“The CIU Fireflies game was a night when community was built, friendship was shared, and the joy of the Lord was shown to Columbia,” said junior Caroline Crabtree.

“I'm hanging out with the big-timers,” said Dr. Wayne Rasmussen, director of CIU’s Sports Management program, speaking of both the Fireflies and those around him. “I'm having a great time, and I'm trying not to get hit by a foul ball.”

Perhaps the highlight of the evening for CIU came in the pre-game ceremonies when Dean of Students Rick Swift threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The pitch was a strike, sending a rousing response through the CIU section.

“Rick Swift has a future in professional baseball,” said Dr. Bill Jones, president of CIU.

The only disappointment of the night was the final score. After the Fireflies came from behind to score six runs in the fifth inning, they were defeated by the West Virginia Power in 10 innings 7-6.

See photos and videos from the game here