COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Grass was installed Tuesday at the home of the Columbia Fireflies, with a little more than a month until the team opens its inaugural season.
Crews began laying the sod at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Installation should take about two days. Crews also began ripping apart the old Byrnes Center Geriatric Center behind the ballpark.
Team employees toured the grounds at Spirit Communications Park on Monday as construction moves ahead.
Tickets for the season opener are nearly sold out just weeks after they went on sale.
The team, a New York Mets affiliate playing in the South Atlantic League, begins its 70-game season in Charleston on April 7 with the first home game in franchise history on April 14 at 7:05 p.m. against the Greenville Drive. Officials say they expect nearly 8,000 fans on Opening Day.
With that many fans, team officials assure fans that parking plans are in the works.
"We're still working on the parking plan," Columbia Fireflies spokeswoman Abby Naas said. "We're working closely with the city and the Department of Transportation and trying to get everything sorted out so we're going to make sure everyone knows exactly where they can park. There's going to be parking very close. There may be parking lots that are a little bit further but we're working on possibly a trolley service or something but we're going to make sure to get the word out. We're going to rely heavily on the media and our social media to get the word out on that to make sure that everyone's comfortable when they come to a Fireflies game."
The Fireflies have scheduled 25 fireworks shows, 10 entertainment acts, 11 theme nights and an opportunity for all kids in attendance to run the bases after each and every home game.
"Fireflies baseball is all about affordable family entertainment," team President John Katz said in a statement. "Our promotions and marketing team has packed the calendar each night with something for fans of all ages."
The Fireflies will feature different special promotions every day of the week.
Fridays throughout the 2016 season will feature national entertainment acts and post-game fireworks. Saturday games will be a different theme, which will give fans an opportunity to dress up and experience the ballpark with a whole different atmosphere, concluding each Saturday with post-game fireworks as well.
"We are excited about our line-up for the 2016 season," Fireflies Vice President of Marketing Abby Naas said in a statement. "We have been working hard to get everything in place to create a memorable Inaugural Season at Spirit Communications Park. We view each of our home games is Opening Night for somebody, and want to make sure that the experience at each game is unique. You never know what you may see on our video board or who we may have invited out each game."
All of the reserved seats in the ballpark have been purchased, but fans can still get tickets to sit on Bojangles Berm in the outfield.
There will also be tickets allowing fans to stand against the rails in the concourse.
Gates to Spirit Communications Park will open 60 minutes prior to first pitch on Sunday - Wednesday games, Gates will open 90 minutes prior to first pitch on Thursday - Saturday games, and on the 4th of July.