Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears... Now is the winter of our discontent. The current collective bargaining agreement between the MLBPA and MLB's owners expires at 12:01 a.m. on December 1, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has essentially made it clear that he fully expects a lockout to happen. What does a lockout mean versus a strike? Strikes mean the players refuse to work under the conditions of an existing CBA. This is what happened in 1994. Lockouts mean the owners are refusing to let the players come to work without a new CBA. All signs are that this is going to be a nasty labor struggle. The MLBPA wants several things, such as the addressing of service time manipulation, changes to free agency rules, changes to arbitration, and to revoke what Tony Clark gave up in the last CBA, which was the commissioner's right to unilaterally change rules without union consent. Ownership wants what it always wants: In the name of "cost certainty," they want a decreased luxury tax threshold, they're going after guaranteed contracts, and they want to up the age of free agency to 29.5 years old, instead of tying it to service time. The union, in a rare show of sanity, has said this is a non-starter. I live in eastern Iowa, now, my brothers and sisters, so it is cold. It is very cold. Let us gather 'round the hot stove and huddle together with the warmth of insane trades, groovy signings, and the joy that is bizarre MLB news until spring training camps open in February.