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Alabaman allowed to talk to Twins
by Aron Kahn

An Alabama businessman has permission from Major League Baseball to talk to the Minnesota Twins about buying the team, Twins President Jerry Bell said Thursday.

Donald Watkins can negotiate with the Twins even though he's doing the same with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Bell said he was told by attorneys for baseball.

"I'm very excited about this development,'' Watkins said from Montgomery. "The weather may be cold up there, but the reception has been warm. Every hour, there's a stack of e-mails from Twins fans put on my desk.''

Bell revealed Watkins' clearance at a U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, where Bell was answering questions about contraction and baseball's antitrust exemption.

Watkins said he'll call Bell at his Minneapolis office today to set up a meeting. This weekend, Watkins said, he'll meet with his lawyer and tax and investment advisers to get ready for that meeting.