JUPITER, Fla. -- College basketball fans across the country have been glued to their televisions lately watching teams compete in conference tournaments for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond knows exactly what he will do once the Marlins finish their Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. The 41-year-old will be watching to see where his alma mater, Gonzaga, will play in this year's NCAA tournament.
"I'm anxiously awaiting to see where it all shakes out," Redmond said. "For them to even be considered for a No. 1 seed, that's pretty cool for a small school with about 6,000 or 7,000 students."
Redmond, who played baseball at Gonzaga from 1990-93, is happy to see how far the basketball program has come since he was a student.
"When I was a there, you just walked into the gym and sat right down in the front row," Redmond said. "You got to see Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble and Gary Payton. We used to go see guys on the other team more than Gonzaga guys. Now they have a new arena and so much excitement. It's really been fun for Spokane and for all of us that grew up there, because it's such a big deal at such a small school."
The Marlins manager plans to show support for Gonzaga during the NCAA tournament by wearing his school colors around the clubhouse. He also plans to watch the Bulldogs play, no matter when their games tip off.
"We have a lot of pride," Redmond said. "A lot of my buddies get together to watch the games. It's been hard down here because I'm usually in bed. When these games start during the tournament, I'm going to be tired. I'm going to have to suck it up and find a place to watch these games."
Cishek, Stanton return to Marlins after Classic
JUPITER, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton and Steve Cishek are back in Marlins camp after playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
The two standouts felt their time playing among the United States' best players was beneficial as they continue to prepare for the 2013 season.
"It was amazing to see all those guys' approaches, like [Joe] Mauer, [Ryan] Braun and [David] Wright," Stanton said. "I see Wright a lot, but it's different being on their side and not being in right field. You're actually able to see how they go about their business. I was amazed by it."
Stanton was particularly impressed by Mauer. The 23-year-old Stanton was amazed by the three-time American League batting champion's ability to hit in the toughest situations.
"He is unbelievable," Stanton said. "I started off batting behind him, so I was right there. You can get him 0-2 in every at-bat, and he has no problem with it. It is unbelievable."
Cishek, who appeared in four games for Team USA, thought the experience improved his ability to handle pitching in pressure-filled situations.
"Any experience you can get in those situations helps," Cishek said. "I don't think there is ever a time when you're comfortable in those situations, but having gone through it will help later in the year."
Cishek likes that the World Baseball Classic is played during Spring Training, saying it helps pitchers get ready for the season quicker. But Stanton feels the Classic would be best if played at midseason.
"For me, the ideal time is in the middle of the season, but that's never going to happen," Stanton said. "It is kind of like we are just getting started and thrown right into that big stage. You have plenty of time to get ready for it. For the guys that haven't played before, you've just got to get started a little earlier and get mentally prepared a little earlier for an atmosphere like that."
Both players kept up with their Marlins teammates while they were representing their country. The two are happy to be back in camp but acknowledge it was a bit disappointing to be back sooner than they had hoped.
"Obviously we would rather be going to San Francisco, because you go there to win," Cishek said. "We went with the objective to win it all, so it's disappointing. But at the same time, it's great to be around these guys again."
Stanton and Cishek would both be honored to represent the United States again in four years, especially because they have much left to accomplish.
"We still have to be the first ones to win," Stanton said. "USA still needs to win it, so it would be something good to try and do next time."
Stanton back in lineup upon return from Classic
JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins manager Mike Redmond had Giancarlo Stanton back in the lineup Sunday for the first time since the United States was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic.
The first-year manager hit Stanton third, behind Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco. Rob Brantly, Justin Ruggiano, Donovan Solano, Casey Kotchman, Adeiny Hechavarria and Ricky Nolasco followed the slugger in what could be a preview of the Marlins' Opening Day lineup.
"The lineup is starting to come together," Redmond said. "It's a good sign that you can have those guys starting to work together as a unit."
Redmond envisions Stanton, who hit primarily fourth or fifth in 2012, as a big threat who can bat in the first inning of every game.
"Is he etched in stone in the three hole? No, but right now, I like him there," Redmond said. "There is an opportunity for somebody to hit behind him. If they pitch around him in the first, at least we've got a guy on in the first inning. That's big. I like Polanco up there, too. He's a contact guy ahead of him. I definitely like him coming up with the chance to drive in a run right out of the chute."
No matter where Stanton and his teammates hit in the batting order, Redmond knows the Marlins are going to have to take advantage of any potential scoring opportunities if they want to be successful this season.
"We're going to have to make the most of our opportunities," he said. "When we've got a guy on third, we're going to have to put the ball in play and score that run, because the way it looks, we won't have a ton of power."
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.