ATLANTA - Her love of baseball and hockey even led to hooky.
“I remember playing hooky in elementary school — my parents would pull me out of school and take me to the Cardinals games,” said Alison Bowles, who grew up in O'Fallon, Mo. “I grew up in a house where you were a huge Blues and Cardinals fan. You're just raised that way. My parents' parents raised them to be that way. And I still have such an appreciation for St. Louis.
"But I got to root for my man now, you know?”
And so, the Cardinals are in the playoffs, Bowles is in the stands for the games … and she wants the Cardinals to lose. For good reason. Her fiancé is Adeiny Hechavarria, an Atlanta Braves infielder.
“Let the best team win!” Bowles said.
Their love story had an interesting twist. In 2017, Hechavarria was on the Miami Marlins. His cousin was dating Bowles' friend, who lived in Tampa. Hechavarria heard about Bowles and hoped to meet her in St. Louis for an early July series.
Alas, he was traded on June 26 to Tampa Bay.
That appeared to be too bad for Adeiny, since the Rays are in the American League. But, as luck would have it, Bowles was in Tampa at the time of the trade … visiting her friend who was dating Hechavarria's cousin.
“After I met him, I liked him, we had a good vibe,” Bowles said. “And the next week, he flew to St. Louis on his off-day to come see me. We did a little tour of St. Louis. We went to Anheuser-Busch, we went to the Zoo and we went to the Arch. And we went to the Hill, too.”
It's been quite a professional whirlwind for the couple. After the 2017 trade from Miami to Tampa Bay, Hechavarria was traded to the Pirates for the 2018 season … and then ended up with the Yankees later that season (and made an amazing catch during the 2018 postseason). In 2019, he signed as a free agent with the Mets, and after his August release, he signed with Atlanta.
Hechavarria hit .321 with four homers in 61 at-bats for Atlanta, and now he's in the postseason against his fiancee's family's favorite team.
“During the season, my dad always had the Cardinals game on the TV and the Braves game on his iPad — he watches both at the same time,” Bowles said. “And he's always tweeting stuff to Adeiny. He's rooting for him and the Cardinals at the same time. But my parents decided for playoffs, they said it's weird that they're going for the Braves. My mom texted me (before Game 1) and said, 'For the first time ever, I don't have Cardinals stuff on, and I feel so weird!' But they're like, 'We have to be all in for Adeiny!'”
And at Game 3, the Bowles family showed up to Busch Stadium in blue T-shirts that featured a drawing of Hechavarria in his Braves uniform (though Bowles dad, Scott, wore a Blues Stanley Cup champions hat).
Bowles also loves the Blues — she used to be a member of the Blue Crew. When they won the Stanley Cup, she cried tears of joy.
"Best day ever," Bowles said.
She works professionally as a model now, and asked about a wedding date, she said: “We're thinking next fall, but all of that depends on if I win Miss Missouri USA. I'm already training for that. I'm representing O'Fallon. I started competing in (Miss Teen USA) when I was a senior in high school for a college scholarship. I loved the pageant and all the girls I met there. It gave me so many opportunities that I never thought I would have — and really opened up my perspective to what I was capable of.
"So I always wanted to go back after I graduated college, so I competed last year and placed second runner-up. I'm back this year (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) to hopefully take the crown.”
As for this fall, as she said many falls before, “I want us to go to the World Series!"
But this year, the “us” has changed.