SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- The plan was hatched in the green hills of the Napa Valley wine region on a November afternoon.
Gregg Lukenbill, who brought professional basketball to Sacramento, Calif., decided to go after a major league baseball team for the California capital. He mapped a plan with other members of Sacramento's Council to Help Attract Major Professional Sports.
"We were sitting around a table talking about what we could do to attract a baseball team," said David Gross, director of economic development for the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce. "Kind of half kiddingly we said we should mount a march on baseball. The more we talked about it, the more we liked the idea."
From that seed grew Sacramento's "March on Baseball," scheduled for the Aug. 23 New York Yankees-Oakland A's game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
"We're shocked at how big the march has gotten," Gross said. "We've gotten 17,000 reservations and will be able to easily sell out the 20,000 tickets were allotted. My only concern right now is that I've run out of buses to take people over in."
The Sacramento fans have been asked to wear blue and will participate in a number of events designated to capture the attention of Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth.
The march is the latest in what has been an aggressive plan to bring all three major sports -- football, basketball and baseball -- to Sacramento.
The NBA's Kings franchise was purchase by a group headed by Lukenbill in 1983. The club was moved to Sacramento in time for the 1985-86 seasons and has had two soldout seasons. The waiting list for season tickets runs in the thousands.
Lukenbill also is leading a group that has started construction on a combination football-baseball stadium. The facility is scheduled to open in late 1989 and will seat 35,000 to 40,000 for baseball and 65,000 for football.
But other cities are in the running for a baseball team if and when the major leagues expand. "We feel we have an advantage over the other areas," Gross said. "We are the fastest growing city in the United States and we have shown with the Kings the kind of support we would give a team."