Dave Cameron Blink Watch: Bill Petti and Blink+

With the advent of the offseason, FanGraphs writers Dave Cameron and Bill Petti have resumed their roles as guests on MLB Network’s Clubhouse Confidential, hosted by the vigorously coiffed Brian Kenny.

Dave Cameron’s lack of blinking has been covered with considerable enthusiasm in these electronic pages — most recently last week, in a Nerd Showdown between Cameron and noted Giant of the Internet Rob Neyer.

Monday saw Petti’s return to the sexy Clubhouse. Below is the data concerning his blinking patterns.

Beg and End mark the beginning and end marks of Petti’s time on camera*. Time is total time, in minutes and seconds, on camera. Blinks represents the number of blinks during the relevant interval. (Note: there are errors, likely. Scorer’s bias, indeed!)

*Includes only closeups. Data on blinks from distances is more subject to distortion.


Beg End Time Blinks
0:15 0:20 0:05 3
0:34 0:40 0:06 3
0:51 0:55 0:04 3
2:48 2:57 0:09 7
3:15 3:19 0:04 6
Tot 0:28 22
    Blink/Min 47.1

Petti finishes with about 47 blinks per minute — less than Rob Neyer’s ca. 84 blinks/min and more (because he blinked even once) than Dave Cameron’s absolute 0 blinks/min. With such disparate figures, though, one wonders: what is an average rate of blinking?

There are a number of conditions under which blink rate has been measured: while reading, while talking, etc. According to anthropologist David Givens, however, who also serves as director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies, “the average blinking rate for someone speaking on TV is 31 to 50 blinks a minute — twice the relaxed rate.” For greater context on this front, consider: during the first presidential debate, Barack Obama averaged 71 blinks/min; Romney, ca. 53 blinks/min.

If we take the median of Givens’ range (40) from above, we can calculate each of our subject’s blink rates relative to average for a TV appearances. Below are the results of that (from an admittedly small data set), where 100 is average blinking rate and greater than 100 is above average:


Guest Blink/Min Blink+
Cameron 0 0
Neyer 84 210
Petti 47 118




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

12 Responses to “Dave Cameron Blink Watch: Bill Petti and Blink+”

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  1. ToeKneeArmAss says:

    Sure – interesting raw stats and all. But what’s his WARB? His WARB+? And were those numbers studio adjusted? I understand that CC is a blinker’s paradise.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CC is a blinker’s paradise, but only for those looking off-stage right, where the lights are especially bright. Those looking off-stage left, at more muted lights, actually see a significant blink suppression.

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  2. Lee Panas says:

    I don’t need all these stupid blink stats from geeks who have never been in a studio before. I can tell who the blinkers are by watching the show.

    +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. RPMcSweeney says:

    Some other thoughts:

    1) You’ve got to account somehow for in-studio vs. via satellite appearances. Certainly those would seem to be totally different blinking environments.

    2) Related to 1 (see above), it appears in last week’s DCBW that Neyer appeared from the grounds of Portland’s historic Pittock Mansion whilst Cameron appeared from a malfunctioning holodeck.

    2) Are 30 and 51 bpm the endpoints of a range or the only points in a dataset? Depending on that answer, you may have calculated the mean rather than the median, which might throw off your Blink+. That’s probably the sort of thing I could find out myself by enclickening one of your links, but that’s the sort of work I’m interested in doing.

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  4. syh says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen Bill on camera. He’s really good!

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  5. MikeofWellington says:

    So you blink more when nervous. Ice-Cold-Not-Giving-Any-Fucks Dave Cameron doesn’t feel pressure.

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  6. Shrewd Cat says:

    Dave Cameron’s lack of blinking is an attempt to stare down others and thus assert his dominance over them.
    Re: Rudyard Kiplings’ The Jungle Book- the other animals can’t hold Mowglis’ stare.

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  7. Steve 1 says:

    This should be on the main site.

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  8. Hopefully, we’ll have enough data soon where we can chart blinks per 182 seconds, or Blink182.

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Michael Barr says:

    Petti makes Kenny look like he’s about 5′ 3″.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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