I knew Brian Meissner, mostly, as an email voice. Together we put out the last two issues of the Fantasy Baseball Guide and the last issue of the Fantasy Football Guide. Brian was the Art Director. We each worked out of our home offices in different Brooklyn neighborhoods, though our paths walking our daughters (him two–twins, me one–tween) to school overlapped, and a couple of times we met for coffee at Cafe Couleur to talk about the work. But most of the time we sent files back and forth with email lists of to do items and concerns and an occasional bit of baseball chatter.
Brian died yesterday, a week after suffering a massive stroke. The adjective massive seems like a cliche, but witnessing just a sliver of the outpouring of love and support for him and his family from family and friends makes the adjective massive seem trivial. Brian was a gentle, good-hearted and thoughtful man and the hole that comes with his loss is massive.
Brian loved baseball and loved playing fantasy baseball, which meant he was full of good ideas for the magazine (he radically redesigned the mock draft section in a vastly superior way), and loved good design, which meant he brought many visual improvements to bear throughout the book. The last time we met, prelude to this year’s Guide, it was late in the day for coffee, so we stopped in for strong dark beers at the Double Windsor. Though we were supposed to be figuring out how to get the magazine done on a short schedule that included Christmas week, we mostly kicked around ideas for fantasy games and products that might hit big with the fantasy-loving public, setting us up financially while helping us devote even more time to the study and appreciation of the game. We had a great time, I spent far more time out than I intended and arrived home late to dinner, and I got to meet Brian’s wife, Jeanne, as she picked him up for date night (the kids were on a sleepover).
Brian’s friend Willy contacted me Sunday a week ago. Brian had heard my chat with Patrick Davitt on the baseballHQ podcast while doing the dishes on Saturday night. Patrick was impressed by the visual look of the magazine and asked who was responsible, and I praised Brian’s work creating the design. Willy told me that, “upon hearing your segment, [Brian] stopped doing the dishes and ran over to his wife saying excitedly, “I’m Fantasy Famous!”, which is a Brian line if I’ve ever heard one.”
Willy went on: “I played it for some friends and family and then I played it some more and more and more. Everyone that showed up wanted to hear it, and that was quite a lot people. It was great to have, and knowing that he listened to it the last night before the stroke, I think everyone found a little comfort in knowing he went to bed after having had a great day and night feeling good.”
People enter our lives in many differing contexts, and some bring delight and pleasure. Brian was one of those for me, and I will miss him.