This article has prompted me to look back at some of the stuff I wrote four years ago as a "baby". What strikes me about my baby code is:
1) Many of the comments were for my benefit as a "baby".
2) I did indeed use lots of simple statements.
3) I did avoid the use of the perlish symbols, $! and so on, and used "use English" and English names instead.
4) I wrote alot of subroutines that implemented funtionality in other languages and systems that I was comfortable using and knew well, rather than learn the perl or unix way of doing things. This was a matter of expedience. I had to get the job done quickly and this helped. In retrospect the code looks just awful and could be improved.
5) I did use "use strict;" and -w
I'd say that it's fair to castigate someone for doing things badly if it's apparent that they have no desire to do things well and to learn, but give the "babies" a break as they are mostly just trying to grow up.