An occasional feature in which we explain and evaluate a SportsCenter anchor's pet phrase. Today's phrase: "I know a cat named Way Out Willy."
Anchor: Neil Everett
Context: Willy Aybar of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a deep fly ball.
Origin: The phrase comes from the 1958 Johnny Otis hit, "Willie and the Hand Jive," a Bo Diddley-influenced song whose opening lyric is, "I know a cat named Way Out Willie." Otis, the son of Greek immigrants, has been called "the Godfather of Rhythm & Blues," though he was less a trailblazer than an artist who synthesized the styles and genres of his day. "Willie and the Hand Jive" was his only big hit, peaking at No. 9 on the pop charts. The hand jive became a brief dance craze and will be familiar to fans of the film Grease and the music of Sha Na Na.
Analysis: Everett deserves credit for the obscurity of his allusion, though in this particular instance, the phrase loses much of its heft when Aybar's fly ball is caught. Points should be docked, as well, because the line is inapplicable to virtually any situation that does not involve a baseball player named Willy.
Humor (out of 5): 1
Aptness (out of 5): 0
Obscurity (out of 5): 5
Quality of referent (out of 5): 4
Total (out of 20): 10