:"Bleachers redirects here. For the novel, see Bleachers (novel)."

Bleachers is a term used to describe the raised, tiered stands found by sports fields or at other spectator events in the United States and Canada.


Bleachers are long rows of benches, often consisting of alternating steps and seats. They range in size from small, modular, aluminum stands that can be moved around soccer or field hockey fields to large permanent structures that flank either side of an American football field. Bleachers are hollow underneath, aside from their support structures. Some bleachers have locker rooms underneath them. In indoor gymnasia, bleachers can be built in so that they slide on a track or on wheels and fold in an accordion-like, stacking manner. The seats of these bleachers are often made of wood.

Name origins

A key feature of bleachers is that they are typically uncovered, i.e. unprotected from the sun; thus the seats, and the fans themselves, are subject to "bleaching" from prolonged exposure to solar radiation. Some sources claim that the term is primarily derived from that feeling of being bleached by the sun while sitting in them. [ American Heritage Dictionary] ]

However, "The Dickson Baseball Dictionary" discusses the term in greater depth. The open seating area was originally called the "bleaching boards", as early as 1877. By the early 1900s, the term "bleachers" was being used for both the seating area and its inhabitants. Thus, Dickson lists the fans themselves as "bleachers", as a "secondary" definition. Other terms, such as "bleacher seats" and "bleacher entrance" and "a home run into the bleachers", are ambiguous enough that they could refer to either the seats or the fans. However, in modern usage the term "bleachers" almost always refers to just the seating area, and its participants may be called "bleacher fans", or "bleacherites", or (in Chicago) "bleacher bums".

In baseball stadiums, the bleachers are usually located beyond the outfield fences. However, center-field bleachers are located in the line of sight of the batter, and the presence of fans makes it difficult for the batter to pick out the ball. As a result, most stadiums have vacant areas or black backgrounds where the seats would be. This is known as either the "Backdrop" or the Batter's eye. Yankee Stadium has featured black-painted vacant bleachers -- nicknamed "the black" by baseball fans -- since it reopened in 1976 after a two-year renovation. In the original Stadium, the center-field section of the bleachers was originally occupied, though from the 1950s they were obscured with a portable screen. Bleachers can be used for all sports known.

The term "under the bleachers" is imbued with cultural meaning from the post-war era of American high school American football stars and cheerleaders. In the sexually conservative society of post-war America, some students would find places like the bleachers at the American football field, or a secluded parking lot, to interact socially and sexually with their peers. The "bleachers" have been given cultural connotations of the innocence of high school and youth. The British equivalent is "behind the bike sheds".


In Ivorytown, Connecticut at the turn of the century (1900) the town industry was manufacturing piano keys covered in ivory. To bleach ivory the technician placed the ivory keytop on a device that looked just like a smaller version of the bleachers as we know them....earning the nickname "bleachers". The idea was adapted for stadium seating.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bleacher — Bleach er, n. One who whitens, or whose occupation is to whiten, by bleaching. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bleacher — 1540s, one who bleaches, agent noun from BLEACH (Cf. bleach) (v.). The bench for spectators at a sports field sense (usually bleachers) is attested since 1889, Amer.Eng.; so named because the boards were bleached by the sun …   Etymology dictionary

  • bleacher — noun Bleacher is used before these nouns: ↑seat …   Collocations dictionary

  • bleacher — cheminis baliklis statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Junginys, oksiduojantis arba redukuojantis baltumą bloginančias medžiagas ir išblukinantis jų spalvą. atitikmenys: angl. bleach; bleacher; bleaching agent; chemical bleaching agent rus.… …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • Bleacher Report — Création 2008[1] Fondateurs Dave Finocchio, Zander Freund, Bryan Goldberg, Dave Nemetz …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bleacher Report — URL …   Википедия

  • Bleacher Bums — is a 1977 play written collaboratively by members of Chicago s Organic Theater Company, from an idea by actor Joe Mantegna. Its original Chicago production was directed by Stuart Gordon. A 1979 performance of the play was taped for PBS… …   Wikipedia

  • Bleacher Creatures — The Bleacher Creatures are a group of fans of the New York Yankees, who occupy sections 39 and 37 of Yankee Stadium s right field bleachers. A prominent aspect of the Bleacher Creatures atmosphere is their use of a number of chants and songs, the …   Wikipedia

  • bleacher — noun Date: 1550 1. one that bleaches or is used in bleaching 2. a usually uncovered stand of tiered planks providing seating for spectators usually used in plural • bleacherite noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bleacher — /blee cheuhr/, n. 1. Usually, bleachers. a typically roofless section of inexpensive and unreserved seats in tiers, esp. at an open air athletic stadium. 2. a person or thing that bleaches. 3. a container, as a vat or tank, used in bleaching.… …   Universalium

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