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Thursday Bird Droppings: Some Orioles are off to the World Baseball Classic

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World Baseball Classic rosters were announced on Wednesday, including four expected Orioles and one surprise one: Welington Castillo. Also in today's links, Joey Rickard's surprise potential, hopes for Seth Smith, and more.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now 53 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. This happens to be the number currently in use by Zach Britton, and if you want to get technical, the modern O's franchise came into existence in the waning months of 1953. So don't blow any saves today.

We're also now a mere four days away from pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Sarasota for spring training. Several will probably arrive early. This has been known to happen. Then there will be days of pictures and videos from reporters who don't know which way to hold their phones of players throwing bullpen sessions, and eventually we will move into some games where players who will never be on the Orioles this year will feature prominently.

That will be especially true during this year's spring training because several Orioles will be departing for the World Baseball Classic for a while. That includes four players who were expected to be in the WBC - Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, and Mychal Givens - and one who wasn't, Welington Castillo.

The Narrative is already forming that Castillo will have his getting-to-know-you period with the Orioles pitchers impacted. It's not like familiarity with Matt Wieters helped him or the pitchers much last year. Let's hit the links.

Around the blogO'sphere

Jones, Machado, Schoop, Castillo and Givens confirmed for WBC - School of Roch
A handful of minor leaguers will be participating for some of their home teams as well.

Baltimore Orioles: Grading their offseason | SI.com
If you care about what Sports Illustrated thinks about the Orioles offseason, this is the article for you.

Orioles have high hopes for outfielder Seth Smith as spring training approaches - Baltimore Sun
I also have high hopes that Seth Smith is not going to show up and actually turn out to be Yovani Gallardo.

Orioles' Joey Rickard could surprise in 2017 | MLB.com
No one should hold their breath for this one. Rickard does have one thing going for him: He's a right-handed batter when the Orioles are flooded with lefties in the outfield corners.

What is PECOTA, and should you hate it? (ESPN)
If you spent any amount of time getting worked up about PECOTA over the last couple of days, you should definitely read this article from someone who knows a lot more about it than I do.

MLB plans to test new extra-innings rules in rookie ball, with Joe Torre's approval (Yahoo Sports)
One rule that's going to be tested in rookie ball is starting each extra inning with a runner already on second base. WTF?

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2005 short-timer Napoleon Calzado, 2011 perma-DH/cleanup hitter Vladimir Guerrero, 1999 swingman Doug Linton, and the late Erv Palica of the 1955-56 O's and Vic Wertz of the inaugural 1954 Orioles team.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Along with those former Orioles, your birthday buddies for today include: Common Sense author Thomas Paine (1737), short-term president William Henry Harrison (1773), novelist J.M. Coetzee (1940), The Color Purple author Alice Walker (1944), baseball player and talker John Kruk (1961), actor Tom Hiddleston (1981), and The Wire actor Michael B. Jordan (1987).

On this day in history...

In 1825, after no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the previous year's election, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams to be president of the United States.

In 1895, Mr. William G. Morgan devised a game called Mintonette, which we know today as volleyball.

In 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy proclaimed that the US Department of State was full of Communists, marking the beginning of the Second Red Scare.

In 1964, the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. This appearance was viewed by 73 million people in the US - that is, 38% of all Americans.

In 1986, Halley's Comet reached its perihelion and became visible in its most recent visit - though this visit was believed to be the worst for viewing the comet in the last 2,000 years. Halley's Comet will be back in 2061.

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And that's the way it is in Birdland on February 9 - or at least, unless something happens later, which I sure don't expect, but hey, you never know. Have a safe Thursday.