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MLB vets, sons enjoying EDI experience

Some Elite Development Invitational players have notable fathers
Special to MLB.com

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- For young Cameron Collier, the Elite Development Invitational isn't much different than his practices in Chicago.

After all, the coach who has helped him most in Vero Beach is his father, former Major League utility player Lou Collier.

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- For young Cameron Collier, the Elite Development Invitational isn't much different than his practices in Chicago.

After all, the coach who has helped him most in Vero Beach is his father, former Major League utility player Lou Collier.

"He's pushed me to do my best," the younger Collier said. "I've learned a lot from these big leaguers and they're teaching me how to work harder."

Cameron is one of several attendees of the EDI who has a father -- and an ex-Major Leaguer at that -- participating as one of the coaches. The elder Collier, who played for five MLB teams, is one of the various infield coaches.

While his priority is making sure students grasp the fundamentals rather than try for the fancy play, Cameron's father is still keeping an eye on his son.

"He's been enjoying himself, and for him to take advantage of this experience helps me with coaching him," Lou Collier said. "I'm sure he's hearing a lot of the same things I've been telling him since he was able to walk. Him being here and being able to be impacted by these men is priceless."

While many of the coaches in Vero Beach have children exploring an athletic career -- pitching coach Pat Mahomes' son, Patrick II, was a first-round draft pick in April by the Kansas City Chiefs -- not all of them are able to get experiences like the EDI.

Junior Spivey, a National League All-Star in 2002 and a World Series champion in 2001, can certainly relate to the Colliers. Spending the past week as an outfield coach, Spivey has been joined in Vero Beach by his son, Ernest.

"I'm just happy for him to be able to meet guys like Cecil Fielder, Dmitri Young, Marvin Freeman, all these great Major League ballplayers who had unbelievable careers," the elder Spivey said. "For me, I'm dad, and he hears it from me every day. Just to hear it from someone else is definitely huge."

Ernest, better known as Tre by his teammates, wears his dad's advice on his sleeve in the way he handles himself. That's despite, as Tre explained, the slight pressure that comes with adult responsibilities.

"He was telling me that you always need to hustle, and you can't be the last one off the field; you don't want to be late," Tre said.

The younger Spivey went on to describe the EDI as an "awesome experience," while Cameron viewed the camp as "fun."

"I dreamed of myself as being an MLB player, but I never expected to be brought to one of the top camps in baseball," Spivey said.

In an ideal world, those coaches will wind up like fellow coaches Cecil Fielder and Tom "Flash" Gordon as parents of future MLB players. Cecil's son Prince retired in 2015 with 319 career home runs, while Dee Gordon is a two-time All-Star with the Marlins.

Tweet from @BTS_MLB: Tom ���Flash��� Gordon dropping knowledge at #EDI Getting ready to hit the field! pic.twitter.com/P9ZsMEiXb2

Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, the fifth overall pick in the 2014 Draft and another of Tom's sons, currently ranks 40th on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.

For now, though, the elder statesmen like Spivey are fine with forgoing the future to reminisce about the past as they watch their sons.

"He wanted to play, so I put him in a good situation and position to play," Spivey said. "I just allowed him to be a kid, be himself, and just kind of give him my little points here and there. For the most part, I let him be a kid and fall in love with the game."

Jake Elman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Vero Beach.