PHOENIX – Jeff Golner had a golden opportunity to work the World Series in 2001, but the chance to witness his favorite team win the championship while he was working in game operations at Ball One Ballpark quickly soured at the thought of the opposing team crashing his dreams.
Invited to work the unveiling of the championship trophy after Game 7, Golner had to prepare for both outcomes as a member of the game ops team. However, being superstitious, he tried not to think about the possibility of handing over the Commissioner’s Trophy to the New York Yankees.
“I said, ‘Great, I won’t be there,’” Golner said, joking about the meeting invitation he received to coordinate the trophy presentation. “This is Baseball Superstition 101. I won’t be attending that meeting.’”
Fast forward to Monday’s Game 3 of the 2023 World Series, this time Golner was more than ready to hand over the hardware at a World Series game.
Standing in the same location as Guy Fieri’s DTPHX Kitchen + Bar, where he first met his girlfriend, Coni Garcia, the longtime Diamondbacks fan proposed in a lifting of spirits after Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
“She was just jealous of my (2001 World Series) ring, so I got her one,” Golner said jokingly. “I started thinking about (proposing) and said, “This is the perfect time to do it. I’d be kicking myself if I don’t do it and tie it to this.’ She was shocked.”
“Now, technically we have our own World Series ring,” Garcia added.
Golner and Garcia met in what was formerly named Hi-Tops outside of Chase Field. After the evening game, Golner suggested that they both go into the bar where he eventually gave Garcia the ring he kept hidden during the entire game.
“It was very unexpected … It was a tough loss for the (Diamondbacks), but it ended with a nice surprise at the end,” Garcia said.
Golner worked in the Diamondbacks organization during its early years and has a 2001 World Series ring from the championship season. His mother, Sandy Fromm, has been a season-ticket holder since the inaugural 1998 season. Despite all the collectibles and memorabilia the family has bought and received over the years, Fromm would be the first to tell you that this was out of the ordinary for her 25 years ago.
“I never really was into sports my whole life,” Fromm said. “My son Jeff was working for the Diamondbacks from the beginning, and as a parent you become very involved in what your children’s activities are, and so I became a Diamondbacks fan.”
The Diamondbacks hired Golner to be their promotions coordinator before the team’s first season.He was then was hired as the marketing coordinator for game operations to begin the inaugural season. Golner previously worked with the Colorado Rockies in ticketing and the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League but was always set to work for the Diamondbacks when they were announced as an expansion team in 1995.
In the end, Golner didn’t have to worry about handing the Yankees that 2001 World Series trophy as the Diamondbacks won the World Series on a dramatic walk-off single by outfielder Luis Gonzalez that delivered the first and only championship in the team’s short history.
“(Jeff) knew he wanted to be in (gameday operations) so he only applied for one position hoping that people would recognize his talent, and they did,” Fromm said. “We were all so proud of him.”
Fromm sits down the third-base line behind the home dugout now, but that wasn’t always where their seats were located. She started out sitting behind the first-base visitor’s dugout but, to her, it felt like sitting in enemy territory.
Fromm has a collection of scorecards she uses to document each game she attends, including playoff games. While most of her scorecards are in storage or lost, she’s documenting the Diamondbacks’ current playoff run on her new scorecard.
Now, 22 years later, Fromm and Golner continue to attend Diamondbacks games. It’s become a family tradition bringing the mother and son closer together. The family group chat is also all Diamondbacks, especially this season, according to Golner. The Diamondbacks reached the World Series for the second time in their history this season against the Texas Rangers, and the playoff run has brought a whole community together for the family.
“Everywhere we go, people say, ‘Go Diamondbacks,’” Fromm said. “I love something that brings our community together. It’s really a terrific thing.”
Even though the Diamondbacks are down 2-1 in the series, the diehard Diamondbacks family hopes the team will come back and win the championship.
“We’re on a roll, we’re going to win this whole thing,” Fromm said.