English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) wrote in “Locksley Hall”:
“In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Baseball’s spring training changes “love” to “baseball” in the minds of many young men. “Not more surely does a young man’s fancy turn to thoughts of love in the spring than to thoughts of sport in general and base ball in particular” was cited in April 1893.
Wikipedia: Locksley Hall
“Locksley Hall” is a poem written by Alfred Tennyson in 1835 and published in his 1842 volume of Poems. Though one of his masterworks, it is less well-known than his other literature. It narrates the emotions of a weary soldier come to his childhood home, the fictional Locksley Hall.
Also, it includes one of the most famous lines in all of English poetry, the last of the following four, albeit very few are aware of whence it came, and it is often, perhaps usually, misquoted:
In the spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast
In the spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest
In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnished dove
In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
20 April 1893, The Sporting Life, pg. 2, col. 2:
Not more surely does a young man’s fancy turn to thoughts of love in the spring than to thoughts of sport in general and base ball in particular.
6 April 1913, Springfield (MA) Sunday Union, “Oh, just see who’s coming this week,” pg. 10, col. 5:
When Mr. Tennyson used to write pieces of poetry for the queen of England, he told about the thought to which a young man’s fancy lightly turns in the spring, thereby showing, so far as future generations were concerned, a most amazing ignorance. Had he been a man who wrote pieces for the sporting pages of a paper, he would have known what a young man’s fancy turns in the spring.(...) And had he known all this, he would have written about baseball and not about love.
By Timothy Burr Thrift
Cleveland, OH: Published by the author
WE approach that season of the year when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of baseball — or love — depending upon what fancy of young man he may be.
17 June 1924, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, pg. 12, col. 6:
In springtime a young man’s fancy turns to—baseball.
Google News Archive
14 February 1963, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, pt. 2, pg. 2, col. 1 photo caption:
In spring a young man’s fancy turns to baseball, especially if your’e a major leaguer.
Sports in the Movies
By Ronald Bergan
New York, NY: Proteus Books
In spring, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of baseball.
June 1986, Popular Mechanics, “Science” by Dennis Eskow, pg. 14, col. 3:
In springtime, a young man’s fancy turns to baseball.
Stuck in the Sixties:
The Ollie Richards Story
By William A. Grossfield
Xlibris Corporation (Xlibris.com)
“In the Spring, a young man’s fancy turns to baseball,” said Coach Samuel Rose in an interview last week.
Randy Smith: When A Young Man’s Fancy Turns To Baseball
Friday, February 08, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Now that the football season has come to a halt with the Ravens’ victory in the Super Bowl over the 49ers, a young man’s fancy can turn to baseball.
High Point (NC) Enterprise
Tom Blount: Beware the ides of March
Mar. 10, 2013 @ 01:34 AM
Often a cliché or someone’s quote says it best.
Take this Herald-Tribune Feb. 24 posting by Thomas Tryon, “If the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson had lived in this century, he might have written: In the spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of baseball. … Ah, spring training, this glorious time when all the trite things that fans say — and writers write — about another season of Major League Baseball are true. … Last year may not be forgotten but it is gone, the standings clear of wins and, more important, losses. Every team — regardless of its lineup and payroll — has the same record while its players, managers and coaches prepare for the long, 162-game season.”