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Justin Bieber allegedly beats up paparazzo; Paul Konerko a crowd pleaser

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Updated: July 3, 2012 11:57AM

This guy is the polar opposite of The Most Interesting Man in the World. This guy just might be the Unmanliest Man in the World.

I’m talking about the paparazzo who called 911 and complained of being roughed up by Justin Bieber at a shopping center in Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday, as the Daily Mail put it.

Photos taken in the immediate aftermath of the altercation are priceless. Bieber, sporting an earring, multiple neck chains, some very complicated pants-legging deal and multicolored striped socks, is scowling as he retrieves one of his high-top purple gym shoes while his girlfriend, Selena Gomez, picks up Justin’s matching purple baseball cap. He looks about as threatening as an Oompa Loompa.

According to TMZ, Bieber and Gomez were walking out of a movie theater when the stalker — I mean, professional photographer — tried to snap pics of them, and some sort of fracas ensued. The photographer called 911 and was taken to a hospital, treated and released. TMZ says a police report was filed and Bieber could be charged with misdemeanor criminal battery.

Imagine being that paparazzo. Your life is already so empty that you’re a grown-ass man stalking a couple of teenagers on Memorial Day weekend. Now you’re basically, “Ow! Mommy!” after a confrontation with JUSTIN BIEBER.

What next, a claim that Kermit the Frog bullied you?

Paulie, Paulie, Paulie

Forget about Paul Konerko hitting .400 this season. Never going to happen. The last time anyone reached that magic number for an entire season was when Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941 — and that was before the days of third starters with eight pitches, middle relievers who throw 97 mph and wicked sliders, and closers who throw 101 mph.

Besides, Paulie can’t run. It’s not as if Williams was a speed demon, but an infield hit for Konerko means he sent a shot between short and third and an infielder made a sprawling stop but wasn’t able to get a handle on the ball.

That Konerko is hitting .399 after more than a quarter of a season is at this stage in his career remarkable, even for one of the steadiest sluggers of the last 15 years. (Even more amazing: He’s right around .500 in daytime games. That’s Little League stuff. Actually that’s Little League-check-the-kid’s-birth-certificate stuff.)

But Paulie’s career high for a single season is .312. At 36, battling the usual array of nicks and scrapes and, you know, the occasional pitch that hits him in the face, he’s bound to cool down. An average of .330 or higher would be amazing.

I was among the 22,182 in attendance last Sunday when Konerko launched his 400th home run in a (throwback) Chicago uniform, helping to propel the Red-Hot Sox to a 12-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians on a scorching day when the right-field scoreboard registered 96 degrees. The unassuming Konerko took a quick curtain call after his home run as the fans chanted his name.

Got me to thinking: Has there ever been a more popular White Sox player in the entire history of the club?

Frank Thomas was a more gifted hitter, but Thomas often came across as self-consumed as he bitched about not making enough money or spent a little too much time concentrating on his own stats. It’s not as if Thomas wasn’t fan-friendly, and he certainly received his share of standing ovations during some of his monster years — but talk to any hard-core Sox fan and he’ll tell you there were moments when he wished The Big Hurt would just go play for somebody else.

Nobody ever says that about Konerko.

This is the kind of thing that makes the guy cringe, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When Konerko retires, they’re going to have to make room for a statue of him in the outfield concourse.

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