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Alabama businessman expresses interest in Twins
by La Velle E. Neal III

An Alabama businessman wants to be a major league baseball owner, and would not mind taking over the Twins.

Donald V. Watkins, chairman of the board for Alamerica Bank in Birmingham, Ala., and a practicing attorney, has expressed interest in buying the Twins, but only if someone from the club or associated with the club contacts him about it.

"Nobody from the Twins has contacted me and nobody from the state has contacted me," Watkins said. "I am aware of the situation there."

Watkins, an African-American and follower of Negro Leagues history, would be the first minority owner in major league baseball. He is reportedly worth $1.5 billion.

Watkins, 53, has received preliminary approval from the league as a potential owner. He has put in a bid to purchase the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but said he still has time to redirect his efforts to pursue the Twins.

"My preference is the Devil Rays, but if that doesn't work out, I intend to pursue other options until I find a major league baseball team," he said.

When asked about his application in a recent Baseball Weekly interview, Commissioner Bud Selig said, "he's legitimate, very legitimate."

Watkins said he would be willing to contribute to a new stadium, but added that he would like to have public support as well. He served as Special Counsel to the mayor of Birmingham, Ala., from 1985 to 1999, so he's familiar with political workings, too.