Retweets becoming digital version of autographs

NANCY ARMOUR AP National Writer Published:

Forget standing in line for hours, hoping for a scribbled, barely legible autograph on a wrinkled piece of paper. Or jockeying for spots behind the dugout on the off chance a signed ball or batting glove gets tossed your way.

When it comes to souvenirs from your favorite athlete, the retweet is where it's at these days.

Fans have turned Twitter into a digital version of the autograph session, asking -- sometimes begging or pleading -- stars from every sport for a shoutout. Social media experts say the retweet allows fans to feel a "connection" to their favorite athletes, erasing the traditional barrier between superstars and the ordinary folks who adore them.