Cubs Employees With Cerebral Palsy Are Just Part of the Team at Wrigley Field

shared courtesy of Chicago Tribune

Cubs guest services worker Tanner Salinas waits to assist fans before a game between the Cubs and Pirates at Wrigley Field.

 

CHICAGO, Illinois — Ryan Rucci enthusiastically pushed an elderly fan in a wheelchair up a ramp last week before the Wrigley Field home opener, a fitting reminder of what makes him more than just another Cubs guest services employee at Clark and Addison.

Rucci, 28, has cerebral palsy, a developmental disorder that affects muscle movement, motor skills and speech patterns of 500,000 children and adults in America. The disorder doesn’t stop the Cubs from hiring the right people like Rucci and Tanner Salinas, who also lives every day with CP.

And it didn’t deter Rucci from earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources from Texas State University in December 2014. Rucci’s father, Corey, suggested his newly graduated son seek a job at a place he enjoyed but never envisioned him relocating to the city where he was born.

“My grandma lives in Sugar Grove, but I don’t think my dad thought I’d ever really go to Chicago,’’ Rucci said. After he was born, his family moved to California and then Texas.

But Rucci applied online for an usher position he got before the 2015 season, sublet an apartment in Wrigleyville with his family’s blessing and recently began his fifth season after being promoted to supervisor.

Reminded the Cubs have averaged 96 wins a year since they hired him, Rucci laughed.

“You can tell Theo (Epstein) that,’’ he said. “You always dream about working for your favorite sports team, but you never think you’re going to. But I just feel like I’m the same as anyone else here. It doesn’t feel any different than another supervisor doing the same job. That’s also what’s cool about the Cubs — everyone just treats me like everyone else.’’

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