warm the bench

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warm the bench

Fig. [for a player] to remain out of play during a game—seated on a bench. John spent the whole game warming the bench. Mary never warms the bench. She plays from the beginning to the end.
See also: bench, warm

warm the bench

Also, ride the bench. Be a secondary or substitute participant; wait one's turn to participate. For example, I can't wait till the head of accounting retires; I've been warming the bench for years . This expression comes from such sports as baseball and football, and their standard practice of having substitute players sit on a bench in case they are needed in a game. [Slang; early 1900s]
See also: bench, warm
References in periodicals archive ?
Rookie Bill Walker impressed during preseason, but he'll likely ride the bench early on in the season.
It could be as Darrick Martin continues to ride the bench and the Clippers continue to struggle.
In high school ball, the worst players get cut and the average ones ride the bench.