Aluminum bleachers have been used for many years to provide fans, coaches, and players a place to sit while watching, practicing, or playing in a sporting event. They aren’t the most luxurious or glamorous of options, but they’re practical and efficient at serving their purpose. Today, they’re used by virtually all levels and every type of sports teams. In celebration of their longevity here are three interesting facts you might not know about them.
1.) History: Some say that the term “bleachers” can be traced back to 1889, but The Dickson Baseball Dictionary mentions the open area seating “bleaching boards” as early as 1877. Some believe the term stemmed from the fact that these boards, which were made from wood at the time, were bleached by the sun due to the lack of overhead covering. In any case, the term bleachers started to be used commonly by the early 1900s for the seats and fans who occupied them in many cases.
2.) Unique Terminology: On top of bleaching boards, the terms “bleacherites” and “bleacher fans” have been used to describe the people who sit on the aluminum bleachers today. Some baseball parks, whose average stadiums seat 47,000 people, have even adopted specific names for their fans. At Chicago’s Wrigley Field they’re known as “Bleacher Bums.” Yankee Stadium has adopted “Bleacher Creatures” to describe their fans.
3.) Pop Culture: Aluminum bleachers can vary greatly in size and design. From small, inexpensive, 10-foot ones that seat 25 people to enormous wrap-around stadiums like the ones in baseball stadiums mentioned above. While there are many different terms used to describe them, one that is universal doesn’t have to do with the bleachers themselves, but what historically happened underneath them. “Under the bleachers” is a term that many Americans will recognize that came from the post-war era. Its meaning is a place where students would go to interact and typically engage in sexual acts. Although it isn’t as common these days, many kids still enjoy using the space under bleachers to partake in their own games rather than watch the ones going on above.