By Larry Perl, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:59 AM EST, January 30, 2013
Most years, the 700 block of West 34th Street in Hampden makes its mark in December, with a holiday light show and decorations known worldwide as the Miracle on 34th Street.
But this year, residents of at least one row house on the block are decorating for an event Baltimore doesn't see very often — the Ravens in the Super Bowl.
Ravens fans Ralph "Sonny" Showalter (no relation to Orioles manager Buck Showalter) and his girlfriend, Sandra O'Rear, are hoping for a different kind of miracle on 34th Street and are going all out to show their support for the home team. In the small front yard of their row house, two blowup "bubbas," a Raven and a San Francsco 49er, are facing off against each other. Another Ravens bubba and a Ravens helmet hang from the porch ceiling, and two electric black birds perch on the porch railing, flapping their wings.
In an upstairs window is a purple sign with the Ravens logo that says, "Home Sweet Home."
And the house is lit up at night, just like it was last month for Christmas, except this time the lights are purple.
Much of the Ravens accessories are up at the house throughout the football season, which usually ends with the Ravens losing in the playoffs.
"I had to take my Ravens stuff down to get up Christmas stuff," said Showalter, 50. "Now, I'm putting it back up."
And just as they do during the football season, Showalter and O'Rear will put a flat screen TV out on the porch, where there is a cable outlet, filling their cooler with beer, cooking out if the weather is warm enough and inviting 12-15 friends, neighbors and relatives over to watch the game.
"We were going to do it for the New England (Patriots) game, but it was cold," said Showalter, a maintenance man for the apartment building at 100 W. University Parkway.
There are also TVs in the living room, the kitchen and the finished basement, which also has a bar.
"We're all set. We're just waiting for the game," Showalter said.
Someday, Showalter said, they might go all the way and enclose and heat the porch.
"We're thinking about that," he said.