View From the Balcony: Tristan Ratchford

Alright people, now that the website is officially back and hack-free (for now) let’s get the ball rolling on a new season! In a weird twist of fate (or poor scheduling on my part) I won’t be on the Balcony at Wall Ball Arena in a regular shift this season, but I will still do my best to keep you all updated on the best and finest that CAC has to offer. Let’s get this email interview underway with Tristan Ratchford, who’s been a CACer since the Winter 2012 season, meaning this will wrap up his second year here.

Tibbs:  Tristan, I’m pumped to have you around! Start us out by telling us who you are, and how you came to CAC

Tristan: I’m originally from the Great White North from the mean streets of Toronto. I played hoops during junior high and high school, but back then it was much easier because I was a foot and a half taller than the other kids and I could just rack up the garbage points. If you see me on the court today, I still play the same way, but it doesn’t work as well as it used to.

That’s what happens when you stop growing in 6th grade. Just play against Sam for a while to really transport yourself back to the glory days.

I heard about the CAC through my buddy Ian Urquart. He told me it was good league, with good guys.

And he was one of the best! Ian was actually the “last white kid’ to play at Charlestown High. I shit you not. That’s not even a nickname we gave him, but it’s true…

What is it exactly, that you do? Something something interwebs right??

I am a software engineer for IBM Research. I primarily build web applications and work with big data systems. My current focus is on workforce analytics, which translates to—after you strip off the marketing buzzwords—building systems to help engage employees and utilize them in the most efficient way.

Yea, sooo…

My girlfriend just calls me a nerd.

There it is! You have a girlfriend and are the envy of half the guys in this league. Seriously, you people spend too much time online, get out there and live a little!

Can you tell by the above question I did the minimal amount of research for this interview necessary? What has happened to the state of journalism in this country?

I wouldn’t worry. I would rather read the CAC forum boards than the Wall Street Journal.

In that vein, would you rather the CAC website be more like Bleacher Report (pictures/slides/terribly written articles) or New York Times (wordy essays, boring ‘facts’ and the occasional puzzle)?

 Definitely the former, but with more stats. I can’t get enough of the stats. That’s why I really appreciate Sam’s true shooting percentage effort.  Since you guys record everything, there is a wealth of interesting stats and facts that can be lifted from the data.


We just need an enterprising young man to break it all down for us!

Take us through the thought process you used to create this: 

Learning the Express stack! Peep this CAC Player Comparator I made : @CACBasketball

— Tristan Ratchford (@tjratch) August 25, 2013

With the [Fall 2013] drafts, I was interested in getting a quick comparison of players if I had to make a decision or wanted to follow along in another draft. Then I discovered that you guys released data for four seasons for each player in the BDraft West. So I cleaned up the data a bit, inserted it into a database, coded up a quick web application (using a visualization  I found here for the frontend), and put it out the information superhighway.

Can you make one that makes me look like a good basketball player? or at least a guy that will GET you to the Finals? I wish we had playoff splits…

That is very interesting question.  I bet I could show with statistical significance that you carried teams to the playoffs more than other players. I would be really interested in seeing which players are playoff killers, too… I’ll start with myself 🙂

Can I hire you to make a lot of visualizations? I assume when you’re not at CAC you’re not doing anything else right?

Hells yeah! I’m thinking for my next visualization — I want to see which player combinations win the most titles.

Man that would be great! While we wait for that with baited breath, I do enjoy the slight differences in the A Draft player comparison

God there are so many old school names on those lists!!

Let’s get back to you. Be honest with us, you’re Lamar Odem’s dealer aren’t you?

Anything to bring down the Kardashians.

Each season everyone is always blown away by how you are playing. They’re all like ‘Man if I had known Tristan was playing so well I would have drafted him earlier!” What’s your secret off-season training reigmen look like?

Ha! I appreciate that. Whenever I start plateauing, or regressing into my old habits, I try expanding my game during pickup sessions. For example, people would never fall for my shot fakes because I would never shoot. So I started working on a mid range jumper to keep people honest when they were defending me. I still have a long way to go! 

The only man who spends more time on the court at Wall Ball Arena is Sam, and that’s only because he works here. When is your first championship coming? is it this season in Franchise with your Terry/Keith/Kap core or is it more likely in B Draft with Randall

My franchise team hands down will win this season. I will have my name on the wall with a big “C” next to it (figuratively because you guys don’t put up pennants anymore). You missed the preseason show where Terry, Keith, Lania, and I were tearing it up and making it look like an And1 mixtape, without all the carries and bs.

HA! I was just kidding about Randall, everyone assumes he’s a terrible captain, give us your thoughts on his job the last 3 seasons.

Randall can definitely command a team when he’s at the head and is good at getting the team back on track during timeouts. When matched with the right players a team with him on it could be deadly. He can drive to the net most often and generate points by dishing it if the the defense collapses on him. He just needs to cut back on forcing the Doug Flutie Hail Mary passes sometimes.

Alright, the real reason I asked you to do this is to find out who you love to play with CAC. I swear to god it will be one of life’s biggest disappointments if I’m not on the list.  Come on, give it to us, your all time top 5 CAC teammates



Tristan, Tristan, and Tristan because I spit hot fire!

But really (in no particular order and not including my current teams):


-Tibbs (you)



Wooohoooo! I hate that Drew is on there too but I’ll take it!

Leave us with the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten

From my buddy Ian Urquhart: “At the very least, go for rebounds. Everyone appreciates a good rebounder” 

Truer words have never been spoken, thanks for joining me Tristan!


  • Tristan is the man! Great stuff guys! He’s the Billy Beane of the CAC.

  • Tristan this is awesome! I would play with you anytime! Except when Xavier is on the team…

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