MISSOULA, Mont. - Heading into his second season with the Kansas City Royals organization, Missoula's Riley King had hopes he would be assigned to Idaho Falls where he could stay close to home and play Pioneer League games all over Montana.
"Yeah, you know Idaho Falls would have been awesome," said King on Wednesday. "Just in terms of playing in front of the state of Montana and with my family being pretty close to me, so it would have been pretty neat."
As things turned out, King was sent to other end of the country; he's been assigned to the Burlington Royals in North Carolina. Although not his first choice, King also admitted that playing away from Montana might help in terms of fewer distractions and less pressure.
"You your goal in the long run is to make it in the big leagues in this game. So maybe it is a blessing, in terms of not having to worry as much," said King. "You know, I've got to trust the process and just do what they tell me."
King says overall he's most excited for the full minor league experience after spending all of last season playing games daily in Surprise, Ariz.
"It's a certain level of excitement in terms of when there are fans in the crowd. I know Burlington is one of the top teams in this league for the fan base and committed fans, so I'm excited for that part," said King.
This is actually the first time the Missoula Sentinel graduate has been to the East Coast. He said upon arriving there earlier this week, North Carolina reminded him of being back home in Montana.
"Yeah, extremely nice people. It's really green here and it has a small, country town feel to it," said King.
This Royals outfield prospect has many goals in place for the upcoming summer as he attempts to move up the minor league ranks. However he says the most important thing is to always remember to keep having fun and be grateful for his opportunity to play the game he loves.
"You know its been a great time in my life," said King of his past year as a professional player. "It is definitely a grind, but I keep making positive strides in my game and I hopefully have a good summer and move up a level at a time."
The Burlington Royals open up their season Thursday night, June 19, in Pulaski, VA.