Your morning roundup for May 14, the day after a homeless Bulgarian man beheaded an elderly British woman in a Spanish supermarket, walked away "clutching the head by its hair, leaving a trail of blood dripping to the ground," but got caught after an Italian motorcyclist threw a helmet at his face. Oh, Europe.
What we watched: There was soul-stirring music and a powerful individual inspiring the scrappy, just-learning-his-way underdog to victorious redemption ending in cliffhanger fashion. That was both Purple Rain and last night's Oklahoma City/Memphis game. The Rev. Al Green got things started with a soulful national anthem. A monstrous cut-out of the President of the United States's head helped fans keep the faith. And Zach Randolph's 30-point, 13-rebound effort helped the Memphis Grizzlies prove to the world that they deserved, at the very least, a chance to go back to Oklahoma City for a Game 7 shot to advance to the NBA's Western Conference Finals.
What we're watching: Don't expect El Clasico-caliber futbol when Manchester City faces Stoke City for the FA Cup final at Wembley today. Sure, the world's oldest domestic-club tourney still holds some prestige but Daily Mail columnist Des Kelly put it best when he wrote, "The FA Cup is being suffocated as the Premier League muscles in on this once sacrosanct football festival, stealing away the precious oxygen of publicity with its unrelenting demand for attention." Sure, it still matters. But it doesn't matter matter unless you frame it as such: Manchester City, in fourth place in the EPL and qualified for the next UEFA Champions League, faces a scrappy eighth-place side buoyed by the fact that they're making the first finals appearance in the franchise's 148-year history. Coverage starts at 10 a.m. on Fox Soccer Channel; replay at midnight.
Bryan Stow improves, albeit slightly The San Francisco Giants fan beaten into a coma outside Dodger Stadium by two yet-to-be-caught moral degenerates has improved enough to withstand being flown to a hospital closer to home. "The day has finally come! Bryan is now stable enough to bring home up north," the family said on its website, www.support4bryanstow.com. "This time is so bittersweet. ... We are happy we get to bring Bryan home." For context, this is very good news but no guarantee that things are about to get any easier for him. [San Francisco Chronicle]
Harmon Killebrew will go gently into his good night: Yesterday, the Minnesota Twins legend sent word that he was done battling esophageal cancer, that he was at peace doing so, that he knew he could take no more. "I am very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care that hospice provides," he wrote. He had "exhausted all options with respect to controlling this awful disease." [Star Tribune]
A sensitive, humbled Roger McDowell returns: His eyes were red and his voice was wavering, but Atlanta Braves pitching coach and tooth-solicitor Roger McDowell returned from his two-week suspension for, among other things, beating a bat off. "I've always said this is the best office in the world," McDowell said, before pausing to gather himself. "When I put the uniform back on I felt how fortunate I am to be able to put this uniform on and represent the organization." What a homo. [ESPN]
No no-no no-no: Detroit's Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning last night but failed to keep the opposition hitless for a second consecutive game. [Free Press]
Another day, another sports guy arrested on domestic charges: Not one to be outdone by Jay Mariotti, ESPN NHL "analyst" Matthew Barnaby was arrested for alleged domestic violence last night. Per WIVP-TV (and a litany of other reports dutifully supplied by tipsters), "Amherst Police responded to a location at 6:15 p.m. and found serious damage to property. The location is being kept private to protect two female victims, who police say were not injured." There is also an "angry phone calls" aspect to the case. Barnaby's dating ESPN's Michelle Beadle, who seemingly indicated to a Sabres fan that a rush to judgment is ill-advised. [Twitter]
The "Boogey Man" found dead: Derek Boogaard, 28, of the New York Rangers, was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment last night. Cause of death has yet to be determined. A former Minnesota Wild fan favorite texted a Minnesota reporter last month that, "I gotta work my [butt] off this summer so I can get back to what I was doing in Minny, you know?" [Star-Tribune]
If the FA Cup isn't enough for you: Here are today's soccer-viewing recommendations ... AC Milan vs. Cagliari at 2:30 p.m. eastern [Goal]. Available any time is wag Nives Celsius who released a song about "scoring with her footballer husband Dino Drpic" of AEK Athens. It includes the line, "fill me like Ronaldo." Watch it here. [The Sun]
A few stories you might've missed.
Physical Geometry: A goalkeeper makes a stupid move. Then a player makes a stupid kick. Set both to a Benny Hill-inspired soundtrack. Fin.