Ricketts learns the ropes as 'Undercover Boss'

Ricketts learns the ropes as 'Undercover Boss'

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' grounds-crew locker room will be getting a face lift, there will be a new trailer for the parking-lot attendant and an annual award was created for the workers. But Todd Ricketts will never hose down the bathrooms at Wrigley Field again.

Ricketts posed as an unemployed roofer named Mark Dawson and was tested as a maintenance worker, hot-dog vendor, grounds-crew worker and scoreboard operator at Wrigley for the reality show "Undercover Boss," which aired Sunday night.

Todd is the youngest of the four Ricketts siblings who purchased the Cubs in October 2009 and drew the assignment of going behind the scenes at the ballpark. He grew a beard, wore glasses as his disguise and moved into an sparse apartment across from Wrigley Field. Ricketts took on the varied tasks but had trouble keeping pace with the bathroom cleaning. He was fired from his job as a maintenance worker by Darryl Wilson.

The Ricketts family hosted a viewing party Sunday night at Harry Caray's Tavern near Wrigley Field. Todd Ricketts was proudly wearing his various ID badges.

"He said he could do anything," Wilson said Sunday night of his first encounter with Ricketts. "That ticked all of us off. We said, 'Who's this new guy, thinking he can do all of our jobs?'"

Two of the head groundskeepers were in on the secret, but Wilson and the other Wrigley Field vendors and maintenance staff were not. And, as can be expected, the veteran workers usually razz the new guy.

"We had a guy looking for the batter's box key for 45 minutes before a game started one time," Wilson said. "They said, 'Don't do that to [Ricketts].' Every other part-time guy, we've done that. They'll go from home plate to the hitting cage to the left-field bleachers, all the way to the scoreboard looking for the key. We've been doing that for 24 years."

What Ricketts did have to do was hose down the restrooms and squeegee them clean. He wasn't quick enough for Wilson.

"My boss at home tells me I'm not that good at cleaning bathrooms either," Ricketts said of his wife, Sylvie.

Ricketts also sold hot dogs, parked cars and worked with the grounds crew on a rainy day, which required a lot of work with the infield tarp. He predicted he would make a comeback as a vendor.

"I think I can do that," Ricketts said Sunday after the show. "Look for me at Wrigley next year without the disguise and my badge will say 'Todd' but I'll be selling hot dogs."

He did fulfill a dream when he went inside the scoreboard, where Wilson also worked. Ricketts redeemed himself as he was able to handle updating the inning-by-inning scores and got to raise the "W" flag after a Cubs win.

The show ended with Ricketts meeting his co-workers one-on-one, revealing his true identity. He talked to his brothers Tom and Pete and sister Laura about some improvements that need to be made at the ballpark, such as upgrading the employees' cramped quarters and getting a trailer for the parking-lot attendants. Rocco, who tried to teach Ricketts the nuances of vending, was made the first recipient of the "Wrigley Field Award." An employee at the ballpark for 28 years, he also threw out a first pitch at the last home game.

Joe Mantucca, 25, of Naperville, who was on the grounds crew, told Ricketts his dream was to get a job in the front office. He was given an internship in the marketing department.

"If it doesn't work out," Mantucca said Sunday, "[head groundskeeper] Roger [Baird] says he'll welcome me back."

Which is more than Wilson can say about Ricketts.

"He's not 'washroom ready,'" Wilson said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.