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Two Minor League teams played an 18-inning marathon ... in Game 1 of a doubleheader

One of the things that makes baseball wonderfully unique is that it exists outside any sense of time -- technically, two teams could play a baseball game for time immemorial. (Just ask Tommy Lasorda.) The game refuses to conform to any sort of conventions, and on any given day, it can be just about anything. You could catch, say, a 58-pitch complete game. Or, if you're the Class A Clinton LumberKings and Cedar Rapids Kernels, you could find yourself in the 18th inning ... of the first game of a doubleheader.

It all started so innocently around 5 p.m. CT -- the LumberKings (the Mariners' affiliate) welcomed the Kernels (Minnesota's affiliate) for what promised to be two thrilling seven-inning games. Clinton got out to a 1-0 lead, but Cedar Rapids battled back, scratching across a run in the final frame. Oh, if only they knew then. If only they knew.

From there, the game just ... sort of ... refused to end. Both bullpens hunkered down. The Kernels had a runner on third in both the 13th and 14th. But wait! The LumberKings just scored the winning run! Until, well:

A scoreless 15th went by. And then the 16th. And then the 17th. SOMEBODY STOP THE MADNESS.

After more than two full games were played (you know, before the second actual game was to be played), James Alfonso was the hero:

The Oklahoma City Dodgers, meanwhile -- who played in a 19-inning affair against the Iowa Cubs last year -- remained unimpressed:

So, one marathon behind us, we looked forward to Game 2, in which Art Warren would take the hill for the LumberKings. But the long wait got the Internet to thinking: How exactly was Warren filling all that time before his start? Thus began the quest to figure out #WhatArtWarrenWasDoingDuringGameOne. And, this being Twitter, the answers ranged from the sensible ...

... to the highly implausible ...

... to the Bob Ross:

And, because the Baseball Gods are not without a deep and abiding sense of irony, Game 2 was briefly delayed when the sprinkler system went off:

Whatever Warren's preparation, though, it eventually worked: He threw six shutout innings and Clinton took Game 2, 3-0. But this was about so much more than just the final score. It was about two teams, 25 innings of baseball, one hashtag, and so many memories none of us will ever forget.