2024 Greenville Yard Gnomes vs Wilson Tobs

Coastal Plain League's Greenville Yard Gnomes: What to Know

Coastal Plain League's Greenville Yard Gnomes: What to Know

Here’s a look ahead at all you need to know about the Greenville Yard Gnomes, part of FloBaseball’s coverage and analysis of independent baseball.

Jun 26, 2024 by Briar Napier

A brand-new baseball club wants to get to a point where it towers above the rest of its opposition in the Coastal Plain League.

Even if the Greenville Yard Gnomes’ nickname indicates otherwise.

Located in an underrated city for baseball and catching some of the potential stars of tomorrow in the sport, the Yard Gnomes have been welcomed in with open arms by their community and are trying to make some noise in their first season of play — and the first season Greenville has seen competitive baseball outside of the youth and college ranks for quite some time.

The Coastal Plain League, prior to its revival as a summer collegiate wood-bat league in 1997, operated as a minor league from 1937-52 and had teams in some of the same cities that are represented in today’s CPL. 

Greenville — after being part of the original CPL decades ago — now gets to hop into the action once again, too.

Here’s a look ahead at all you need to know about the Greenville Yard Gnomes, part of FloBaseball’s coverage and analysis of independent baseball all summer long:

What Year Were the Greenville Yard Gnomes Founded?

The Coastal Plain League’s newest team, the Yard Gnomes were announced as the league’s 15th ballclub in January as they call Greenville, North Carolina home after the City of Greenville approved a plan to bring a CPL team to The Emerald City last year. 

The Yard Gnomes’ arrival also signaled the city’s return to the CPL after 73 years away as the team mainly known as the Greenville Greenies, a minor-league club in the city that existed from 1928-1951, played in the CPL in two stints from 1934-41 and 1946-51. 

Though Greenville is a proud baseball city with a strong Little League tradition and East Carolina University (consistently one of the best mid-major baseball programs in the country) playing nearby, it hadn’t hosted a minor-league or summer collegiate wood-bat squad since the Greenies folded — until now.

Who Owns the Greenville Yard Gnomes?

The Yard Gnomes are operated by Capitol Broadcasting, a North Carolina-based media organization that bought the CPL in 2022 and retains ownership of a few teams in the league, including the Yard Gnomes. Michael Villafana is the club’s general manager, having spent a combined four seasons working with minor-league teams in the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox’s organizations.

What is the History of the Greenville Yard Gnomes Team Name and Mascot?

Though it was the “Garden Gnomes” moniker that was technically selected as the winner of a “Name The Team'' contest held prior to the club’s official announcement by the CPL, the club opted to go with the Yard Gnomes nickname instead as it is more “baseball-friendly,” per the team

Gnomes protect treasure, the team noted, and with the club based “in the heart of Pirate Nation” — obviously a nod to ECU — the Gnomes have “come to protect the Pirate treasure in Greenville,” according to the team website’s explainer. 

The team’s main colors are gold and green, paying homage to ECU and the City of Greenville, respectively, whereas the team’s font is similar to the one used by the Greenies when they were an active organization decades ago. The Yard Gnomes’ mascot is an adult-sized, bearded gnome.

Have the Greenville Yard Gnomes Ever Won a Coastal Plain League Championship?

No, the Yard Gnomes have never won a Coastal Plain League championship, due to the 2024 season being the team’s first year of existence.

They’ve struggled out of the gates during their inaugural campaign in the East Division, finishing last in the first half of the division standings with a 5-19 record, but they did win their second-half opener Sunday in a 17-14 shootout over the Wilmington Sharks. 

Where Do the Greenville Yard Gnomes Play?

The former field of the Greenies has recently entered a new era. Guy Smith Stadium, opened in 1939 for Greenville’s long-lost minor-league team, underwent a sleek $1 million renovation in the winter and spring just in time for its newest tenant in the Yard Gnomes — the first college or professional squad to make the venue their home ballpark — to move in for the 2024 season. 

Holding a capacity of 1,509, Guy Smith Stadium received improved seating, restrooms, concession and merchandise booths, and an array of other upgraded amenities with the renovations, breathing some much-needed new life into a classic ballpark.

Greenville Yard Gnomes Notable Alumni

Considering the fact that they are still amid their first season of play, the Yard Gnomes simply haven’t had enough history to seriously compile a notable alumni list, but a few names on the roster are trying to make a name for themselves with Greenville this summer. 

Outfielder Jack Herring has been a solid option at the plate for the Yard Gnomes thus far, for instance, batting .323 across 25 games with four home runs and 18 RBIs to boot, the latter two categories of which lead the team. Right-handed pitcher Matthew Jenkins, meanwhile, has been one of the Yard Gnomes’ most dependable starters thus far this summer, going 1-1 with a 3.70 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched across four starts.

How to Watch the Greenville Yard Gnomes

Atlantic, Frontier, Pioneer, and the Coastal Summer Plain League, as well as the Florida Collegiate Summer League, all are streaming on FloBaseball and the FloSports app. 

Replays, highlights, and more news can be found on the site.

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