There won't be any Diamondback involvement in this afternoon's Arizona Fall League championship game, with the Salt River Rafters having fallen agonizingly short of making it to the title match for the third consecutive year. Coming in to the last regular-season games on Thursday, they needed to win and the Mesa Solar Sox to lose. The Rafters did their part, beating the Scorpions 3-2, but Mesa beat Glendale 9-3 to take the East Division title by one-half of a game. Salt River's started the AFL 4-9, and that proved just too big a deficit to overcome, even by winning 15 of their last 18, including a seven-game winning streak to finish things off.
Mesa will face off this afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium against the Surprise Saguaros, who won the Western division by 4.5 games, and are seeking their first title. They made the championship game two seasons ago, but lost to a Rafters team which included Charles Brewer, Ryan Wheeler and Adam Eaton. The AFL finale will be screened on both the MLB Network and free online, so it's one final opportunity to watch actual baseball, before we switch to staring out the window and waiting for spring.