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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